Walking provides something everyone needs right now: the chance to get out of our heads.
3 min read
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Are you struggling to find the silver lining to the events of 2020? The pandemic and ensuing quarantine have beaten people up in different ways. Some of us suffer emotionally, some financially. But the light at the end of this tunnel might just be sitting between our ears. That is, our ability to rethink just about everything.
Employers are rethinking commercial real estate. Educators are rethinking classroom teaching. And many of us are rethinking our health. More specifically, we’ve been reminded of how important it is to put one foot in front of the other.
Weird walkers don’t look so weird now
Before quarantine, walking was a form of exercise usually associated with soccer moms doing laps around the cul de sac. Or maybe a group of baby boomers rocking fanny packs who hit up the local mall, three-pound weights in hand. Some of us (including me) shook our heads and laughed from afar. But when gyms closed up, walking became cool again.
“When Covid hit, I had to rethink everything, including my health,” says Matt Buder Shapiro, co-founder and CMO of healthcare startup Medpilot. “My workout regime had to shift dramatically. I typically spent four to five hours a day on calls, so I started making sure I was in motion for my conference calls. I’m currently averaging close to 30,000 steps a day, almost entirely in my less-than-1,000-square-foot apartment.”
Shapiro isn’t a baby boomer or a mall walker. He’s a 30-year-old entrepreneur trying to keep himself and his business as healthy as possible.
If the shoe fits, start walking
Gyms are a safe refuge for many of us, but to use them, you generally need a membership and available equipment. Most importantly, you need the gym to be open. But all you need to walk is a good pair of shoes and the ability to get off the couch.
“My sense is that people who are not runners but used machines like elliptical trainers for cardiovascular exercise at the gym have taken up walking,” offers Brad Stulberg, author of The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life. “Walking benefits not only physical health, but also mental health, as it can be done with others with appropriate distancing or mask-wearing. And it requires zero equipment or maintenance outside of a pair of shoes.”
Let your feet help your head
Besides the cardiovascular benefits, walking provides something everyone needs right now: the chance to get out of our heads.
If you’re like me, when you start walking, the cobwebs begin to disappear. It’s like a stretch for our brains, allowing things to loosen up — hence the popularity of walking meetings. And when you return to your computer to write or work on something, your eyes can usually see the answers more clearly.
It’s like shaking an Etch A Sketch, and the best part is you don’t need to shake things up dramatically. Just start with putting one foot in front of the other.