Many articles have been written related to how many famous persons, people that contributed by far in the history of humanity took long walks and got inspiration by that. In other words (to comply with the spirit of our travel blog essence), these people hiked and trekked! Didn’t they?
The long walk trend, theory or simply something natural to do
You can also read here about great musicians like Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mahler or enlightened people like Goethe, Dickens, Darwin & Steve Jobs and many more who used to talk long walks. These -unquestionably- were persons who played a great role in the course of their “market” and art. One of the things they had in common was… yes, right, taking a long walk in the day!
We live in an era where jogging and running is considered to be an element of many that helps to stay fit and health. However, just walking or simply taking a long walk works in a very different way on the body and mind. Here are a few reasons why…
- Taking a long walk usually helps you to contemplate.
- A long walk can place you opposite to your thoughts and actually see them. Running does the same but after training for a while, where you notice that you last longer when you have less thoughts in your mind, and thus removing that sucking of energy. At the beginning -with running- you cope along with breathing right and a billion of thoughts.
- Taking a long walk in the country, without the city noise to interfere, you get to absorb the multitudes of colors and sounds and smells. Of course, this happens, if the mind gets silent.
- Imagine a long walk in the city, though. Find a way to stop external noise (i.e. a headset can be fine or some plain earphones), and simply walk and look at people’s faces, recognizing emotions and such! Talking about taking the mind off of your “issues” right?
Health benefits of walking
First of all is a kind of weight lifting. You carry your own weight around, don’t you?
But here are more:
- Your bones get stronger because they are simply… used
- Your muscle strength and balance are improved
- Your body fat is reduced
- You get your heart and lungs more fit
- You reduce the risk of having a stroke or heart disease.
- As your body joints and nerves are put in motion you may manage better conditions like hypertension, bad cholesterol, muscular pain that is a result of sitting too much, and more
There are studies that prove that walking has major benefits when it comes to cognition, helps to improve memory in senior persons, as well as cognition and performance in academic matters, while at the same time has big positive effects for childern, and when performed in nature and in outdoors can boost creativity.
But these are not all. Keep on reading!
Why a long walk and not simply sitting quietly
First of all do not under estimate the power of the plain good old… motion. Motion and movement wakes up your body, senses and nervous system. Walking out of your office, home, screen, smartphone and simply change the things that you habitually see and do every day, sets in motion your whole nervous system. Things start happening! Your mind and nerves and body now are now out of the habit. The place where you were sitting and trying to cope with an issue is not there anymore. You are out there in the woods, in the street, seeing colors, taking in pictures, allowing the mind to do other things than being entangled with the “issue”.
If you prefer another expression, you actually “sleep on the problem” but without sleeping but moving. Do not “expect a specific result” while walking. Simply walk and observe. Either way your subconscious has the “issue” stored and it will provide a solution when you are out of it. It’s like the case where you struggle to remember some name or place you forgot and you can’t just remember the “freaking” thing! Right? “Forget about it”, or do something else and suddenly there pops the answer! Why? You took your mind from it. You did something else!
Stop “discussing” with your mind… That is not happening. You don’t discuss with someone. It’s merely thoughts from your immediate past. The past you wanted to take a long walk away from… Right?
A long walk is not a solitude thing
Leaving alone the philosophy that you are never actually alone -your thoughts are with you- try to take a person with you and contemplate around the issue you want to solve, or simply discuss. Simple and actual motion will bring up sub topics of the issue you want to deal with and by simply walking around the block or hiking a mountain path you will definitely find the solution to what bothers you.
Your fantasy will be activated and that is very important. Charles Dickens is known to have created most of his characters through walking more than 30 miles per day! Imagine that! 30 miles per day. Well, for many it is not possible to leave the office in midday and start walking for 30 miles. Most probably is that if you have a boss and tell him/her that you want to talk a very long walk (for about 30 miles more or less) to “think it over”, you may get a long face instead of a long walk leave. But, keep in mind that… great thinkers and doer’s did so. That makes you think a few things. Right?
So, if you can, take your business or life partner and walk around for inspiration to solve issues and enhance good things too. It works!
Long walks for learning
Did you know that Aristotle (Ancient Greek teacher and philosopher among many other things) had a school and teaching method that was based on… walking? It was called “Peripatitiki Methodos” (freely translated as “The Walking Method”). He insisted that the ability to learn and cognition were enhanced by this practice.
Perhaps you have heard of the “Camino de Santiago”, also known as Way of St. James, St. James’s Way, St. James’s Path, St. James’s Trail, Route of Santiago de Compostela, and Road to Santiago. It involves walking a long distance following the same path of St James. The actual walking and the experiences you get as you do it, can change a person by making them to find who they actually are. Actually this one is on my bucket list too!
Seems that as you keep on walking (ok, that sounds familiar as a slogan right?) and contemplate, you change. Not -of course- to mention the actual benefits of that plain exercise for your body. Man was not made to sit on his butt 10 hours (or more) per day!
“How” to take a long walk or any walk
Just walk! Yep, it’s that easy. If conditions allow this, walk barefoot on a beach or on grass somewhere or in the water. Feel the nature and it’s energy getting through your feet into your body, reaching your head and mind and then circling around again and again. Here are a few tips:
- Don’t think about walking. Put your comfortable shoes or sandals and get out.
- Don’t make it an “exercise” that you “have to do”! Just do it! (here is another slogan). Find the joy in it. Trust me it is not the exercise. It’s the mind that will help you to enjoy this greatly…
- Use place and time as reference time to walk away. Stand up, get out and say to yourself “OK, now I am going for a long walk and I will leave all troubles where they belong. That is the past.” And look at the sun and walk. If there is no sun, enjoy the snow in your face, the mild rain, the air. Be present and actually listen to all happening in and out of you.
- Have plain, simple fun and just walk…
Take as many long walks or short ones or hikes as you can. Find the joy in removing the mind -from it’s 10 hours a day habitual status- to another point.
This is one of the actual reasons we started this travel blog. No matter if we are in Greece or France or Italy or India or any other place in the world, we never take a cab to our destination. We walk to it (OK, or take the subway to earn some time), and see the little places, shops, sight seeings.
When we are at a location like on a mountain or near the sea in a small village we walk there. We take long walks to see the place in slow steady pace and get in as many feelings as we can.
You know what? “Issues” seem a bit easier after this.
So, have fun and have lots of long walks. Especially if you write…