The Power of a Walk

April 3, 2020

One of the side effects of all of this shelter in place stuff we’ve had to deal with is a whole lot of time with the family. It’s been fabulous, but we’ve had to develop some coping mechanisms.

We’ve started taking an evening walk. Just a half-mile circuit around the neighborhood. We do it after dinner, and it is a nice time to get some fresh air and connect with each other. We’ve got four teenage boys, and teenage boys aren’t the most open. 

Here’s a couple of things you can get from a walk.

kid walk
Even the littlest ones benefit from a walk

Fresh Air. Who doesn’t love fresh air? When you’re cooped up in the house all day, every day, it’s good to get out of the temperature-controlled environment. But did you know that fresh air is good for digestion? It also strengthens your immune system, helps your blood pressure, and makes you happier. All major plusses in these stressful times.

Exercise. We all need exercise. If you thought you were sedentary in your 9-5 office job, try shelter-in-place quarantining! Keeping active also helps with stress release, gets the blood flowing, and helps you burn off the quarantine cookies you’ve been eating (bored eaters raise your hands). Exercise also increases your energy levels and just makes you feel better.

Side By Side Time. Even though you’re spending a lot of time with your family at home, it doesn’t mean you’re engaging with them. A lot of management books talk about getting side by side with employees, and I think that is important for interacting with your kids. It breaks down the hierarchy and puts everyone on an even keel. Our kids definitely open up a lot more than they normally do face to face.

See the Neighborhood (and Neighbors). One of the amazing things that has happened is that people are experiencing their neighbors in a whole new way. It has been great to see more people out than ever before. Other families spending time outside. Neighbors saying hello to each other. We’ve started seeing a regular crew as we move through the neighborhood. Definitely a shift from pre-quarantine times.

Being together
Being together and breaking the monotony is a great benefit.

Take a Break. One of the bad things about working from home is that you tend to be “always on.” Since there is no discernable difference between where you work and where you play, the line between work time and personal time tends to blur a bit. Sometimes, this means you spend a little more time on Facebook during “work time” than you probably should. But it also means you keep doing work long past quitting time. So a walk helps you break that trend a bit. It gets you out of the house and doing something non-work related. We all need a break, sometimes.

Change Your Point of View. I do some of my best thinking when I’m walking. I think it is about the change in my point of view. I’m not sitting, static, and in front of a screen but rather upright, moving, and seeing all the stuff going on around me. Changing your POV helps you look at problems from different perspectives, and that might help you see a different solution.

Our evening walks have been a really great thing for our family. I don’t know if we will keep them up when it is 300 degrees outside or if we’ll continue after this whole situation has passed (and it will pass). But for now, they are just what we need.