Presence of mind
You might not think of walking as exercise but it certainly is – especially when compared to sitting at your desk. Research indicates a two-fold effect of exercise on the brain. First, in the regulation of growth factors. Down the cascade this impacts your brain’s ability to strengthen + form new neural connections in the brain. (Research has been done on the effects of exercise in seniors on the development of dementia + Alzheimer’s). For the creative entrepreneur, your brain on exercise will be able to make faster connections between your experiences and lead to greater creativity + innovation. The second effect on the brain is in the reduced risk of diseases that cause degeneration in the brain in the long-term. In addition, when you combine exercise with being outside, research indicates a positive effect on depression.
Do you breathe while you check email? In recent years a term was coined by Linda Stone, “email apnea.” After observing it in herself and many others, she set out to bring awareness to the effects of shallow breathing, hyperventilating, and holding our breath while we work. Ultimately, it increases the stress we experience. The way we are breathing can trigger our sympathetic nervous system, which controls our fight-or-flight response. Taking a walk outside where you are breathing in the fresh air is an opportunity to relax your nervous system and remind your body that you are not in danger.
Connection with the vibrant world around you
There are effects of being outside that science can’t completely account for. It lowers our stress levels and we aren’t really aware of why, exactly. One possibility is that beyond what I’ve listed above, the scent of flowers such as lilacs and roses as well as fresh pine can all have an relaxing effect on our nervous systems. So you should literally stop and smell the roses, ok?