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Walking & Productivity

Walking & Productivity

Walking & Productivity

Anyone who works from home, on their own businesses, or as a freelancer will know just how important it is to be productive. Hustle culture is being thrown under the bus at the moment, with the healthier option being looking for a balance between work and life. If you’re not working 9-5 and then 5-9, you’re not going to achieve your dreams, and while there is a time that you will need to put in the hours – true productivity will see you working fewer hours, with a better output. 

There is one thing that can be seen across almost all of the best minds of times gone by. Dickens, Darwin, Einstein, Nietzche, and Aristotle all sang the praises of the simple walk. 

Almost all of the greatest works across technology, art, film, photography, and the written word were produced using a thinking routine. And part of the thinking routine? Walking. 

For those who are still looking for their ideal routine, Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work can be great for building something that works for you. 

The best thing about heading out for a walk, is that you don’t need much more than a good pair of walking sandals for men, and headphones. It is recommended that you walk for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week to make the most of it. 

Walking & Productivity

So, how does walking help with productivity?

Leisure and Rest

True, high-quality work comes from true, high-quality rest. With hustle culture being prevalent, it puts rest firmly into the ‘waste of time’ category – but those who have achieved high-level success like Gary Vaynerchuk, for example, work until they want – but they know that rest is essential to do their best.  

Walking is one of the best examples of resting and spending leisure time well. It serves to remind us that stepping away from work is essential, and hundreds of the best minds and creatives of years gone by knew that. A daily walk was built into their routine like a ritual. 

What are the benefits of walking daily (especially during a work day)?

If you are sitting at your desk right now, taking a quick break between work, and you are thinking about going for a walk, then just do it. And then do it tomorrow and the next day. If you have control of your work schedule, you should be able to factor a walk-in whenever suits you best. 

If you are a remote worker and need to stick to a company’s schedule, then perhaps early mornings or evening walks are best for you. 

Perhaps your schedule is messy, and you need some routine in there – then walking can be it. 

Here are some options to get a walk in your daily life: 

  • Walking meetings are great for those who want to combine things (and are much too busy to manage to fit in a device-free walk). For group meetings, these aren’t ideal, but for 1:1, they work well. Just keep in mind if you’re going from sedentary to marching the streets, you might want to make use of the mute button to prevent puffing and panting. 
  • Lunchtime is a great time to fit in some walking, although it is not ideal to walk and eat. However, the midday walk is a great way to shake off the morning cobwebs and fend off the afternoon slump. 
  • Morning walking is often the most recommended option because it helps to get your blood pumping. 
  • Evening walks are ideal for shaking the day off and allowing your brain to process what you’ve been doing all day. 

Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs often cited walking meetings as markers of success. Some studies show that walking meetings had no negative impact on the work and conversations being conducted.

Walking & Productivity

Creativity & Divergent

Stanford University did a study in 2014 (although there have been some since) that studies the creativity and thinking between people who were sitting at the desk inside (and taken for a walk in a wheelchair), walking on a treadmill for a while, and those who walked outside. 

The study was looking for a link between these walks with divergent and creative thinking. The results showed that those who had been outside walking, performed higher when it came to their creative output – and it was not by a small margin. It noted that the output was around 60% more. 

The walking breaks up the typical pattern of thinking, (our normal pattern), which in turn stimulates creative thinking. For a while after walking, there is a golden period where we can sit down with a fresh perspective.

So for anyone who does anything that involves deep work, a lot of thinking or creative work of any time, walking is essential for encouraging divergent thinking. 

Mental Wellbeing

There are numerous studies that show that one of the best things for mental wellbeing is walking. Although there are many studies, one in particular (Changes in work affect in response to lunchtime walking in previously physically inactive employees: A randomized trial) found that just 30 minutes per day, for 10 weeks saw a higher rate of relaxation and enthusiasm for their work. 

While many interventions aim to alleviate anxiety and depression, studies on walking have shown its potential to reduce both conditions when combined with other approaches.

When we experience mental well-being and reduce anxiety and depression, we are more likely (although not always) to produce our best work.

Want to boost your mental health? Take a walk 

Cognition & Attention 

We know that walking is good for our mental health, and our creativity – but the act of walking is one of the things that can protect your grey matter long term. The journal of Neurology published a study that followed people over a 9 year period – and they found that the people who walked for longer periods had a higher level of cognition. 

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The researchers observed changes in plasticity and brain structure, and these changes improved cognition.

When we walk, we increase our blood flow, and that includes an increase in blood flow to the brain. The extra blood flow goes to the brain, and increases oxygen. The reason this is great is that our brains need more oxygen and energy when we are using them for work, and walking feeds that need. 

The study shows that the faster the walk the better it was. 

Walking & Productivity

What else can improve productivity 

There are more companies that are encouraging employees to work out once a week at least. Many are even offering gym passes, or group yoga to help. The reason is because the studies are all consistent walking and moving increasing productivity. 

Not only does it reduce stress, improve performance and even less sick days. So aside from walking, what are the best other options for productivity? 

Yoga  people who do yoga regularly have a higher motivation and self-esteem. And since breathing and mindfulness is part and parcel of it, that further increases the efforts of the walk. 

Strength training, using weights multiple times a week increases brain function when in combination with aerobic exercises. 

To achieve better productivity, you must prioritize better time management and build more organized to-do lists using tools like Asana, Todoist, Trello, and Hive.

Learning where you can save time, and use it for walking and other things that you find give you an increase in energy and productivity: Save Time In Business | Tips & Tricks

Also read How To Inspire And Drive Your Employees For Success In 2023

Exclusive Presentation by Resident Publications.

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