This weekend, I walked (strolled) around my Chicago neighborhood, Hyde Park. I attended a concert at the Hyde Park Art Center, then walked to the Hyde Park Art Fair. The President, who lived in the neighborhood, was walking around it the other day (with a ton of security!)
Walking was very different from driving. It kept me much more aware of my surroundings. Buildings I passed reminded me of people and long-ago events. I saw several people that I’d not seen in years. I walked through parks and enjoyed city-style “nature.”
A recent article in the WSJ extols the benefits of getting outside and engaging in physical activity:
According to the latest research, untamed landscapes have a restorative effect, calming our frazzled nerves and refreshing the tired cortex. After a brief exposure to the outdoors, people are more creative, happier and better able to focus. If there were a pill that delivered these same results, we’d all be popping it.
To measure the mental benefits of hiking in the middle of nowhere, Dr. Atchley gave 60 backpackers a standard test of creativity before they hit the trail. She gave the same test to a different group of hikers four days into their journey.
The results were surprising: The hikers in the midst of nature showed a nearly 50% increase in performance on the test of creativity, and the effect held across all age groups.
So, get together with your family and loved ones and walk around!