For a lot of people, we have been at home more often. While it is the safest place to be for ourselves and others, it can quickly become claustrophobic. Even in the most organized, low-stress home, boredom can creep up through the floorboards. It might be time to revitalize an old tried-and-true boredom combatant: the classic walk around the neighborhood.
Everyone knows walking is healthy. It gets blood flowing to your muscles, stretches out the joints that grow tight from inactivity, and can elevate your heartrate if you tackle it with enough gusto. Furthermore, spending time outdoors is also associated with reduced blood pressure and cortisol levels. We also know that interacting with plants relieves stress.
Additionally, it can also improve your mental health. Walking outdoors is a multi-sensory experience. You see, hear, and experience new things. While that may not seem like a lot at first glance, new information and experiences are a type of stimulation. Boredom and restlessness strike when we have energy without anything to hold our interest. If your books, shows, or chores aren’t calling out to you as the epitome of a fun time, you might be looking for a new environment or activity. Walking in a new place introduces new sensations and stimuli, and it can quickly turn into your favorite time to disconnect, destress, and notice new things about the world around you.
Now, you might already be out the door and lacing up your shoes, with proper sun protection, of course. If so, great!
However, if you remain unconvinced that walking around the block is all it is hyped up to be, below are some activities while walking that can spice up your walk and add variety based on your needs.
Call Friends and Family
This is one of the perfect activities while walking, especially for those who don’t seem like they have enough time in their busy schedules. There’s no reason why you can’t share the latest news or catch up with an old friend on your walks. Having someone to talk to can make walks feel more focused and fun. It also gives you a preset time to dedicate to being more connected with others. And if you are a person who gets nervous over phone calls, you always have the perfect excuse of needing to cross a busy street when you want to wrap up the conversation. If you want to get extreme, you could take business calls. Just beware traffic noises in the background.
Listen to a New Album
Art is all about experience. Take the time to find a new album or artist you’ve been meaning to listen to. While walking, you’ll have time to focus on the music and learn something new. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask friends and family for recommendations. Art is also all about connection. There’s a song or two that means the world to everyone. Listen to them and learn a bit more about your loved ones. It will give you something to talk about for your next walk.
Get Through a Podcast
Some of the best activities while walking is to simply listen. In this case, you can listen to a podcast. Podcasts can be hard to listen to without a good adjacent activity, but even if you have no problem juggling several tasks on top of listening, a walk frees up your mind to think. Exist in the moment and really digest what you’re listening to. Active listening can often increase our appreciation or interest in a subject. This means that even after your walk, you might have a new perspective on an old story.
Take a Notepad or Sketchbook With You
You have dozens of thoughts in the span of a minute, but it can be difficult to capture and remember all of them. By taking a notebook or sketchbook, you have a way to capture them on a page. Getting out into the sunshine and clean air can clear your head. Write down what comes to mind—things which interest you, poems you weren’t expecting, or just a grocery list. The act of writing in a new place can get creative juices flowing, so don’t be afraid to step outside and find some new ideas.
Talk to Yourself
This is similar to a notepad, but instead of pen and paper, you ramble into your headphones’ microphone and record it on your phone. If you don’t have a voice recorder on your phone, there are plenty of apps available for download. Talking to ourselves gets a bit of a bad reputation. Thinking aloud allows us to hear our thoughts and actively work with them. So, if you are struggling to solve a problem, want to vent, or simply get a little creative, a walk is the perfect place to do it. You just look like you are on the phone, and you can always take a break for whatever reason. At the end of your walk, you might have something you want to keep—an idea, a way to resolve a conflict, or even just a funny joke. And if you don’t, you can always delete the recording.
Take Pictures of Things You Like
Out of all the activities while walking, this one can leave you with great memories. We live in a world with a lot of strange, interesting, and fantastic things. Luckily, most people have a camera in hand to capture them at a moment’s notice. This gives you the perfect opportunity to unleash your inner photographer. Whether it’s interesting buildings or a nice garden, find the images that generate interest. Experiment with an angle or the subject. And at the end of your walk, you have pictures you can share with friends or print out and frame on your wall. You get to bring your walks home with you.
Hopefully, these activities while walking will inspire you to get out of the house and walk around more. There’s so much that we can do while walking because it creates a time where we are dedicated and away from distraction. Think about the areas of your life where you could use a little focus and see if you can adjust your walks to help. Nonetheless, you can just focus on yourself. At the end of the day, getting outside and reducing your stress is its own reward. If you want something a bit more exciting, read our beginner’s guide to getting a bike or how to pick a trail. And as always, if you are thinking about getting new gear for your next adventure, come see us at your local Sun & Ski Sports.