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October 3, 2013 at 12:57 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Tips on Taking a Walk

By Lauren Hubers More Blogs by This Author

We know that exercise is part of being healthy, but it's no picnic. For one, it's hard to find enough time to hit the gym on a regular basis. And if we do, we feel so sore the next day that we start to question our sanity. But here's the good news: We don't have to go to the gym in order to exercise. Some people like to bike, others like to jog. Me? I like to walk.

As a college student I don't always have the time I'd like to exercise, but when I have a few minutes to spare I always take a walk. Walking is a simple exercise that exercises the brain more than the body. If I come back to my dorm and don't feel exhausted, the walk was a waste of time and I have to go again. There are times where I found that taking a walk increased my creativity. As much as I like writing, the sledge hammer in my head named “writer's block” likes to hit me a few too many times a day. Either I don't know how to continue, how to get started, or even where to get started in my writing. So I take a short break and come back to it later. Some of my best ideas come from taking a break to walk around the neighborhood.

But the reason I like walking so much is that I'm always doing something with my head when I walk. As a college student I've found that the two biggest sources of stress are homework and people. Stress from homework is inevitable; it's just that thing I don't want to do but still waits on my desk, screaming at me to get it done. And once I do, I barely have time to recover before another round of homework begins. But then there's people around me, too. As much as I love my friends, there are times where I get into conflicts with them and I need to give myself space before I can resolve the situation. A lot of times dealing with friend conflicts gets in the way of me being able to clear my head long enough to get my homework done. Taking a walk allows me to burn off some steam and gather my thoughts. Sometimes I figure out how to resolve the problem, but most of the time it helps me clear my head before getting back to work.

If you think taking a walk might be right for you, I'd say give it a try. But there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Location. A walk around the neighborhood may seem fun at first, but after a few walks it'll start looking boring to you. Spice it up a bit, if you can. Try going downtown, and make it a day trip. Or find a wilderness trail close to home, and walk through it.

2. Timing. Some people like to take walks early in the morning to wake themselves up for the day. Others like to go in the afternoon when wakefulness isn't an issue and the world is alive. And then there are some who'd prefer to go for a walk in the evening, right after dinner and right before it gets dark. You may not have a lot of control over how much time you have in the day, but if you do, my two favorite times to go for a walk are in the early afternoon and in the evening. In the early afternoon, I have more things to interact with (particularly in warmer weather) that keep me interested in walking. Sometimes I'll bump into a friend or make a new one, and at other times I'll see something interesting happening on campus. The evening is good too because the day is basically over and I have more time on my hands.

3. Company. While I do enjoy having conversations with other people, I usually prefer to take a walk on my own. There are those who feel restless when they take a walk with people and there are those who feel restless taking a walk alone. Sample them both, figure out what feels best for you, and act accordingly.

4. Clothes. Be prepared for the weather—not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes I'd walk in the afternoon wearing jeans, and afterward I'd wish that I had worn shorts instead. Or in the evening, I'd walk out of my dorm, spend a few minutes outside, and then go back in to grab a jacket. Always keep one handy, even if you don't think you'll need it.

5. Attitude. Just enjoy the scene and take it in. Look for wildlife on the trails. Try to imitate bird-calls. Play the alphabet game in the city.

Follow these tips and the rest is a walk in the park.

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