Ten perks of taking a walk every day
Since the Covid days, I have been working from home. I only go to Paris once a month to reunite with my team, otherwise I spend my days working comfortably in my living room. This is a way of working that really fits my personality and my work, so I am not nostalgic for the days of having to commute daily, and spend whole days between the walls of an office.
When we think of commute, we tend to focus on the annoying parts: the crowded bus, the traffic jams, the set-earlier-than-necessary alarm clock, the quest for decent clothes every morning, etc. But commute is also by itself a daily ceremony. It marks the frontier between personal and professional life, a transition between two universes during which our brain sorts everything out, a little bit like washing the dishes after dinner.
For the past couple of years, I’ve therefore tried to take a walk of 20 to 30 minutes every workday, as a commute substitute. It is during one of these walks that I thought of 10 good reasons to commit to this routine, and I figured I’d shared them on this blog.
1. Feeding my mind
This is a well-known benefit and for me the main perk of these walks. Walking makes me think. I like to believe that it makes fresh blood flowing into my brain cells. I could stop this list of perks right now because this is clearly the most important one. After a day of work, or even before, it feels amazing to be able to organise my thoughts efficiently, without even thinking about. It take my mind off things, and stimulates my creativity.
2. Feeling the fresh air, the sun, and the elements
Maybe these fresh thoughts come to life thanks to the fresh signals picked up by my senses once going out. Even if I live in the city and that the air is not “fresh” per se, being able to breathe the warmer or colder air from outside is a delightful sensation. A “fresh” air that is accompanied by other elements, whether it is rain drops, sun rays, wind, the smell of snow or flowers, the sounds of my feet crushing dead leaves. It just feels good.
3. Taking care of my body
Getting out of the apartment is obviously good for my physical health. It get those legs moving, makes me climb those stairs up and down and walk at a brisk pace. A three-kilometre walk a day is not much, but it is better than sitting in front of a computer all day. This is such an obvious and important perk that there is really no need to say more about it, but it is a also a great way to close the damn rings of my Apple Watch.
4. Using these AirPods
Speaking of Apple tiny computers, getting out of the house is a great way to finally use the AirPods Pro I just bought to measure their full potential. What’s the use of “adaptive transparency” if I stay comfortably in my living room? What is even the point of having wireless earbuds if I just use them sitting at my desk? Walking 30 minutes every day is a fantastic way to make this purchase worthy of its premium price.
5. Catching up on podcasts & audiobooks
You know what is great about commute and that I miss probably the most? Listening to podcasts. When I lived in Paris, I listened to a lot of them because listening to yourself or music in the métro is not really a great experience. Talking a walk everyday gives me the opportunity to catch up on a few of my favourite shows, and it would be also a great time to listen to audiobooks, both things I can’t bring myself to do at home for some reason.
6. Listening to music
You probably guessed this one right from the top. But for the same reason that I can’t bring myself to listen to podcasts at home, I can’t listen to music while working. For me, music is an immersive experience, and I want to really listen to the songs and albums I play, something I find awkward to do at home. Having a dedicated time every day to revisit some classics or discover new sounds is an obvious and precious perk of these walks.
7. Making phone calls
I hate phone calls. I never answer the phone when it rings — although I have a great ringtone — unless it looks like an emergency. When I have to book a restaurant by phone, I always convince my partner to do it. I try to avoid phone calls as much as I can. But I still want to call my mother once a week or so, and I found that the best place to focus on the conversation is outside, walking.
8. Observing the neighbourhood
Whether I am on the phone, listening to a new podcast episode, or enjoying one of my favourite songs on these new AirPods, I’m always observing the world around me: birds, flowers, neighbours, new shops, old buildings, pretty cars, etc. It is reassuring in a way to see all of these things changing, moving, evolving mourned me; it brings a pleasant sense of belonging in the neighbourhood and the city.
9. Taking pictures
It may sound obvious, but photography is easier when plenty of new things to see and find inspiration from. Walking around the neighbourhood is the perfect way to train my eyes and having a chance to take interesting photographs. Even when I go to the bakery 3 minutes away, I take my phone with me. Not to pay (I use my Apple Watch for that), not to listen to music or podcasts, but just in case I see something worth snapping a picture.
10. Cherishing some alone time
As a married 38-year-old, I know having some time alone is precious. These walks are a great way to be on my own for 30 minutes at a time, but they can also be a window of 30 minutes for my partner to finally be able to have some alone time in the apartment. We have spent a lot of time working from home together for the past couple of years, and I know these walks have a been a great help on making this experience a very smooth one.
There you have it. My 10 reasons to go for a quick walk every day, especially if a new life working from home still requires some adjustments on your day-to-day routine. For some, most of these benefits are already obtained by having kids at home or going to the gym, but I hope this post will convince at least one reader to adopt this daily moment of clarity; for me, it has been very useful and I don’t think I miss commuting anymore.