Office and school work can turn a lot of us into tired automatons at the end of the day. Sometimes, our weekends are filled with way too much work, so that we don’t remember what it’s like to have any free time! So why not take a walk?
A walk doesn’t just stretch your muscles and promotes circulation. It can help your brain unwind. It can give you great ideas for a project – ideas that you might otherwise not have unearthed if you’d been working all week. A walk can also give you much needed exercise, and keep you from getting sick.
However, not all neighborhoods are safe, and you shouldn’t be out walking in the middle of the night! Here are a few tips for you to walk around safely and still have fun, all while getting exercise. A walk will send oxygen to your brain, blood through your body, and adrenalin through your veins. It should help you do better, not send you into panic!
1. Take a walk when it’s cool
Dehydrate yourself and you’ll end up cranky, not to mention sick. Take a walk around your neighborhood early in the morning, or late in the afternoon. For good measure, take a bottle of water with you, as well as a little snack to keep your energy up. Trail mixes will do better at keeping your energy instead of salty or sweet snacks, which will just dehydrate you further.
Bring sunscreen or wear a hat. You’ll want to keep your body hydrated and your skin safe. You’ll also need to keep the glare out of your eyes so that you can be vigilant for anyone who looks suspicious.
2. Bring a friend OR arm yourself
Keep a friend close so that you aren’t walking alone and vulnerable. If you can’t bring a friend along, at least take a can of pepper spray (if it’s legal where you are). You want your walk to be as safe and fun as possible! Which brings us to…
3. Take a camera with you
A digital camera can be a great way for you to relive your walk, as well as unearth your inner photographer. Take a themed walk every day. For instance, on one day, take pictures only of the road and cars. On another day, concentrate on flowers. On yet another day, try taking pictures of the sunset.
You’ll find that your imagination and creativity will start to flow once you get started with taking pictures. You’ll discover your camera’s features, too, from that Macro button with the little flower, which helps you take sharp pictures up close; to the adjustments you can make depending on the surrounding light.
So make that walk a creative enterprise and find fun themes for you to play on. What about all-sepia photos? Or take pictures only of blue things? There’s a lot of fun and creativity to be had on your short walk!
4. Take a notebook with you
If you don’t have a camera, or if writing is your thing, then take a notebook with you. Your walk can help you unwind – it can help you get ideas for new projects, too.
You can stop from time to time and take down notes, or simply jot down ideas. You can have themes for the day to help you write. For instance, you can plan to walk for 10 minutes, and then stop to write for 5 minutes about anything at all. This free writing exercise can help you take out mental cobwebs that might contribute to writer’s block.
When you feel more prolific, you can have more concrete themes for your walk. You can write about the history of the road on which you walk (invent one, if you don’t have any idea about your road’s history). You can write about your emotions during your walk. You can write poetry about the flowers, the road, the sky – anything.
5. Always take a different route – and know why it’s different
I used to take three different routes on my way home: two by walking, one by bus. The three routes were very different. The bus route allowed me to see my university’s stadium, which was bright in the summer and crisp white in the winter. One walking route allowed me to see the wide variety of houses in my neighborhood, including one that had the flags of five different countries hanging proudly out front. The other walking route was my favorite: I went through a nature park that had a wide variety of animals and plants, and which gave me the chance to take lots of photos.
Discover the different routes that you can take in your neighborhood, and then, if you can, plot out a map. Show where there are “unique” or even “fascinating” sights, be it a fountain in a front yard, eighty cats on the prowl, or even a house that looks haunted.
As long as you practice safety and vigilance, your walk will be both productive and creative. Not only will you get a lot of oxygen and adrenaline running through your system, you’ll discover new things about your world, too!
Inez Ponce de Leon is a writer, science communicator, scientist, and belly dancer. She loves beaches, books, movies, and way too many things – hence, she writes way too much, too. She loves taking on a wide variety of topics, from how to critically look at Internet health claims such as properly reading a Healthy Trim Review, how vitamins can be supplements for brain health, and how racism is being fought in Philippine football (http://inez.abcruz.com).