Henry David Thoreau, an American essayist, poet and philosopher said, “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” What is it about a simple stroll that could get your creative juices flowing? Here’s how walking helps your writing.
How Walking Helps Your Writing
Writers mostly spend their time sitting at their desk, thinking and typing their next story or article, promoting their work online, replying to emails, and planning their story. Most of the time, they’re trying to fight writer’s block. But sitting for a long time can dull your mind, thus making it harder to think and write.
When you search for ways on how to solve this issue and how to write more effectively, walking always appears in the list.
Why? What makes walking an effective and helpful step in writing better?
Wakes the senses and imagination
Walking can stimulate your senses. When you go outside, you change your scenery and your body automatically adjusts. Your sense of sight, smell, and hearing are awakened by the surrounding. Your mind begins to process your environment. Different thoughts enter your mind and new ideas suddenly appear or some old memories are triggered. Walking leisurely enables the mind to wander. This means we awaken our creative thinking—our sense of imagination, is at work.
Walking is a simple exercise that benefits the whole body, including what you need most in thinking—your grey matter. When you walk, your body is at work so your heart pumps blood faster. New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) conducted a research and found that the impact of the foot during walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that significantly modify and can increase the supply of blood to the brain; thus increasing oxygen level.
Benefits of exercise
People who walk often experience a more positive mood, able to focus better, and are more energized.
A Stanford study showed creative thinking improves while a person is walking and shortly thereafter.
Another study conducted on 2010 proved that walking for forty minutes three times a week enhanced the connectivity of important brain circuits and reduced declines in brain functions.
In 2011, researchers found that older adults who go for a brisk walk for forty minutes three times a week for one year showed an increase in the size in an area of the brain called the hippocampus which is mainly associated with memory, in particular long-term memory.
Where to walk
The place you choose for your leisure walk matters. Although walking anywhere can anatomically affect your brain the same way (same heart pumping and blood circulating), the environment affects the way your mind thinks.
If you walk in a crowded, noisy part of the city for example, chances are your mind will focus more on the chaos and you will find it harder to think creatively. Your stress level will increase and that is not the right state of mind you need for writing.
Choose to walk in nature. The greens, the quiet and the calming effect that only nature can offer will surely help you focus more, improve your mood, and decrease your stress level making it easier for your imagination and creative side to work.
Go for a walk in a nearby park, in the woods, the forest, or if you’re lucky to live nearby, take a stroll at the beach.
A study in University of Michigan showed that students who had walked among trees did almost 20 per cent better in a brief memory test while those who had taken in city sights instead did not consistently improve.
As a writer, you must include walking in your schedule. It should be a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. Yes, you will spend lesser time sitting and writing if you allot a few minutes for walking. But in return, you write more effectively, efficiently, and creatively. Your readers will not judge your work by how long a time you spent working on it anyway, but on how you have made them think and feel with your content.
So go for a walk. Because walking definitely helps your writing.