Walking is good for the soul

· by Steve · Read in about 4 min · (796 Words)

I like walking. It helps you think, clears out the cobwebs in the morning, burns a bit of the xmas flab (it’s got its work cut out on that one though), and works out the kinks and stresses of the day.

People rush around far too much, generally. Especially to and from work, it’s all start - stop in the traffic jams into work, angry faces crushed behind steering wheels, feet jabbing at the pedals in a vain attempt to somehow shave some time off the journey but in the end just increasing their blood pressure and getting nowhere any faster. I’m lucky enough to be able to get to and from work on foot, since I only live around 2.5 miles away. I guess some people wouldn’t walk that - hell, I’ve seen people pulling out of driveways half way along my journey going to the exact same place I am, but I really like it. It’s about half an hour each way walking briskly; I could of course make it in about 10 minutes in the car barring traffic, but that’s not the point - the walk is a great start and end to my working day. Even if it’s chucking it down with rain, it really doesn’t matter; a decent set of waterproofs and warm clothing and it becomes irrelevant (and the beard helps to keep the face warm I admit). The stress relieving benefits of the walk really do outweigh the small bit of extra time it costs me.

I used to be much more stressed at work than I am these days. My job can be quite pressured sometimes, as any IT job is when people are desperate for you to fix something and the clock is ticking. I used to go straight from that into a car, fight the traffic all the way home and be pretty hacked off and miserable sometimes when I got in the door. Now, even after a crappy day I plod a couple of miles uphill, get the blood pumping, listen to music, and ponder the meaning of life. When I get in the door I’m invariably a bit sweatier and more physically tired, but mentally things are definitely better. They say physical exercise releases natural endorphins that improve your mood, and I think they’re right; although I’m sure it’s just as much to do with just having some quiet brain-time.

It can even help your Karma đŸ˜€Today, I was walking along and a kid on his push bike, must have been about 12 or 13, misjudged a pavement into a driveway and came a right cropper a little way ahead of me. The traffic was quite bad, almost constantly stopped, and his bike was still in the road, although luckily he wasn’t. He was still quite a few meters ahead of me when it happened but what struck me is that in the time it took me to get there, no-one else moved. They were still just sitting in their cars waiting for the traffic to move, a woman taking her own younger son to school along the pavement who was closer to it than me looked over but was obviously too busy to do anything. So I got there, got his bike off the road, checked he hadn’t broken anything and generally made sure he was ok. Apart from a busted lip and some facial grazes, a case of the shakes from the shock of performing an impromptu face plant, and a badly bruised knee that’s gonna kill for a few days, he looked like he was going be fine. It wasn’t exactly a big deal; I’ve forgotten most of the first aid I used to know, so it was mainly just reassuring him that he hadn’t in fact knocked out his front teeth and making sure he could still move the leg, so I didn’t need to hang around for that long. In hindsight I probably could have got him to the doctors surgery up the road to make sure he hadn’t got a concussion or anything, but he seemed pretty lucid once the shakes started to wear off a bit, so he’s probably ok. But it annoyed me a little bit that no-one made a move from their stationary cars to see if he was ok before I got there, when they were almost within arms length. Sure, you’re in a rush and you’re in a traffic jam, but what does a few minutes cost you? Perhaps when I was more stressed out, rushing back and forth everywhere I wouldn’t have been any better. As it happens, helping someone else out first thing in the morning put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. Makes you think.