Whether you are now working from home or still commuting to an office, the workday grind is real. When you are focused on work for hours at time, no matter the environment, it can take a mental toll, just like sitting in a chair for hours at a time can have a negative physical effect on your back, legs, shoulders and almost any other part of your body — including your eyes! That’s why taking a 20-minute walk, whether you’re downtown or in your own neighborhood can do wonders for the workday.
Plenty of studies show that interrupting the physical monotony and stress on your back and shoulders brought on by staring at a computer screen, is a really healthy practice to get into. Moving the muscles increases blood flow, and not only to the legs but also the brain. Here are some of the more obvious benefits of taking a short walk during your work day, along with a few others that may appeal to you for reasons you may not have thought about.
1. The calories burned from frequent walks add up.
The obvious benefit to your waistline (if it’s even a concern) is obvious, but how does burning calories improve your workday? When you take a walk, even for 20-30 minutes and burn a couple hundred calories, you are certain to feel a sense of accomplishment. Sure, a walk is not a triathlon, but it’s better than no exercise at all, right? By degrees, you are doing something good for yourself, which is going to help you feel better about yourself overall.
2. Short walks clear the mental slate.
Do you ever feel like you just want to push away from your desk and blast off into orbit? No? Just me? Well, believe me when I say the feeling of being trapped in a small area and then being freed, even temporarily, will do wonders for your psyche. When you step away from your workspace, no matter where that happens to be, including an office behind a closed door, you are giving your brain and body a time out. Taking a walk midday is like refreshing the browser of a computer. It resets your day and provides you with a new start (that’s half as long)! Like plugging your phone into the charger when it’s low on battery, you’ll return to your work 20 minutes later with a lot more power.
3. Walking fosters new ideas.
Science has shown that the idea of multi-tasking is misunderstood. While some people are much better at multitasking than others, no one can actually do two things at once. What you can do is switch back and forth very rapidly between multiple tasks. It might seem like you are reading what’s on the screen and listening to the scanner or the baby monitor at the same time, but in actuality you are doing one of those things and almost doing the other, meaning, you are ready to do the other in an instant.
4. Walking helps you create better boundaries between your problems.
When you walk for 20 minutes, away from the incoming barrage of work-related stimuli and tasks, you are allowing your brain to solve non-work-related problems during your workday: the decision of what to wear to that important event that’s coming up this weekend, or how to divide up the kids’ chores so everyone is getting a fair shake, etc. In other words, you are able to take a break from work and problem solve or think about other areas of your life, which lessens the chance that you’ll think about those things while you are working!
Ready to transform your workday? Take a walk and see for yourself. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, including a clear mind, a healthier heart and waistline, and some fresh ideas.