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Everyday Enviro with Elise - The habit of walking

Date: 06-Nov-18
Author: Elise Catterall

There's far more benefit to walking than you might have thought. Image: Christian Gertenbach © Liam Taylor

There's far more benefit to walking than you might have thought. Image: Christian Gertenbach

After a recent broken ankle, I have fallen out of my habit of walking. The car is just there, it takes less time and effort and it hurts less.  No brainer. But is it good for me or the environment? No - though of course I’ve not been thinking about that.

At the same time, I’ve noticed that my work life has taken a bit of a knock from my injury. My work is predominately creative and I definitely feel like I’ve lost some spark there. I needed something to nudge me back on the right track.

In a lovely example of serendipity, I happened to come across some research from Stanford university that revolved around creativity and physical activity, which did just the trick. The results? Walking improves creative thought.

In this research, participants were separated into two groups and assigned to either sit or walk. Then both groups were given several tasks requiring creative thought.  Across the board the walking group (whose walking sessions ranged between 5 and 16 minutes) performed better and were more creative than the sedentary group. Interestingly, walking around indoors was shown to be as effective as walking outdoors – though outdoors has other clear benefits – like, in my case, alleviating the need to drive.

So, while that was all I really needed to be motivated to ditch my car as much as I could and get walking again, my reading into this study also led me into all the other research out there for the benefits of leaving the car behind. Most of us already know this but just to recap:

  1. It’s better for the environment
  2. It’s cheaper
  3. It’s better for your physical health
  4. It’s better for your mental health
  5. It can foster a stronger sense of community
  6. It’s fun

Surely that’s enough right there. Add to this that I’m also modelling behaviours I would like my kids to adopt and also getting them and the dog to exercise and this little behaviour realignment is better for everyone in the family. And It doesn’t cost a cent (except the shoes we may wear out!).

See you next time! - Elise

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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes. 


Elise                                             Catterall
Author: Elise Catterall

Elise is a writer, photographer, and naturopath with a passion for nature. She completed a Master of Public Health in 2017 through the University of Sydney. Her photographic work focuses on flowers and plants as a way of celebrating nature. She has been writing for Planet Ark since 2017, sharing positive environment stories, personal environmental experiences and perspectives.

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