At a winter wellness seminar we held at FireWorks a couple years back, I shared my wellness goal to take more walks. Since then, it’s not unusual for one of the amazing members at FireWorks to pop by my desk and ask, “Have you been taking your walks, Han?” This kind of thoughtfulness is one of many reasons I love the community at FireWorks.
My goal was to beat the winter blues and make sure I had a little time in the sunshine each day during those dark winter months. As it turns out, walks have way more going for them than I initially thought. Here’s a roundup of the benefits of getting outside and stretching those legs:
Solve Problems Faster
If you’ve ever said “oh, it’ll come to me,”, or “I’ll remember it as soon as I stop thinking about it,” this one’s for you. Latent processing happens when our brain isn’t actively focused on a task. Going for a little walk will give your brain time to work things through in the background, so the email you couldn’t figure out how to write or the problem you couldn’t quite solve won’t feel so daunting anymore. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to tackle that task.
This especially true if your walking route is familiar to you. Since walking only takes up a tiny bit of your attention, most of your brain will be free just to wander and take in your surroundings.
It may seem counterintuitive that taking a break from work actually makes you smarter, but walking and other forms of gentle exercise also help strengthen the hippocampus and improves memory function by making new connections in the brain.
Boost Your Health
This seems like a great opportunity for a friendly reminder that it only takes 10-20 minutes outside to get a solid amount of Vitamin D in those eyeballs. Vitamin D keeps your bones healthy and helps regulate your mood, so it’s especially helpful to get outside in the winter, when most of us are feeling a little less energetic than usual.
On a personal note, every time I leave the office and go for a walk, I feel overwhelmingly grateful. Grateful for Marietta, for the beautiful neighborhood I work in, and for our wonderful community at FireWorks. I’ve found that walks are a great time to reflect and make time for a little mindfulness. Maybe you’ll find the same is true for you, too.
Improve Your Creativity
Shoutout to all our creative coworking friends – a study conducted at Stanford found that taking a walk can boost your creative output by 60%. If you’re struggling to brainstorm ideas or solutions, try a walking meeting. Especially right now, nobody is mad about a little extra outdoor time.
It may help to record your meeting with a voice memo, so you don’t feel the need to jot down all your creative ideas.
Engage Your Local Community
This one’s specifically for FireWorks members. There are so many amazing, locally owned spots walking distance from our space. My favorite walking loop is to take Radium Street out past Lewis park, then walk down Campbell Hill Street and make a stop at Sessions Stand. Grab a pastry as an afternoon treat, or an iced coffee in the summertime, then head back to the office on Roselane Street.
This route takes you past Lewis Park’s playground and dog park, where it’s hard not to run into someone you know. Sometimes a friendly wave or quick conversation with a neighbor is all you need to feel refreshed, rooted in your local community, and ready to jump back into the grind.
Here in the coworking world, we think a lot about how to work well. It’s why we have adjustable height desks and phone booths and it’s why we started FireWorks in the first place – to help entrepreneurs work better and grow faster than they could on their own. As it turns out, taking good breaks from work is just as important a piece of that puzzle. If you’re looking for ways to work smarter, we’d love for you to join us.