The Surprise Benefit of Walking

The answer was yes, and I didn’t even have to think about it. Recently, I was a guest on The Retirement Wisdom podcast and was asked an interesting question.

Joe Casey is the host who had been a long-time triathlete. That came to a sudden and unexpected end when he suffered a running injury that sidelined him for good. Joe has transitioned to walking and loves it.

During our conversation, he asked if there was anything about walking that I found surprising. This was the question to which I said yes instantly.

I started intentionally walking for fitness in 2013. When I got my first Fitbit I believed reaching 10,000 steps would be easy because I ran three miles just about every day. On the first day with my Fitbit I was shocked by how far short I was. So, I added a one mile walk after every run to boost my step total. 

I soon realized how much more I enjoyed the walk than the run. After five months of doing this, I made the decision to stop running and just walk more. It’s a decision I’ve never regretted.

A big part of what made that walk so much more enjoyable is the answer to Joe’s question. It was the surprising part of walking for fitness that I never experienced when I was running. During every run, I was super focused on my pace, technique, and any pain I was feeling. Any time there was a pain ping I backed off the intensity. At the same time, I was also competing with myself on pace. How could I finish this run a little faster than the last one? All of that required constant attention and thought.

But, when I started walking my brain was free to focus on other stuff. And, sometimes that other stuff included problems that needed solving. When I was walking those issues didn’t feel nearly as heavy and overwhelming as before. In fact, I often found solutions or at least figured out the next step to these issues as I was walking.

Walking quickly became a significant part of how I processed life and found solutions to vexing problems. I also realized how much more creative I could be while walking. Now, if I need a solution to something, I simply take a walk or wait until I can walk before even trying to figure it out.

Ironically, before I appeared on Joe’s podcast and he asked me that question, I had listened to an earlier episode with another guest who described the same thing. Caroline Williams is an author who uses what she calls long, ponderous walks to solve writing problems and even figure out the topic of her next book.

How about you? Need some extra brain power for a problem you’re facing? Take a walk and focus on finding a solution. I suspect it won’t be long before you have ideas you hadn’t even considered before.

By the way…if your fitness needs a jumpstart, try using the podcast, Walking is Fitness, for a daily ten minute walk. It’ll give you a boost of motivation to get started and keep going. Sample some episodes HERE.

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