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Why walking helps work and wellbeing

6 min read | 20 May, 2020 By Rachael Down


According to Yulife data, long walks increased 39% within 10 days before and after lockdown. Feeling a little flat and fatigued ourselves, we searched for ways to improve creativity.

So we went for a walk.  

Inspired and somewhat refreshed, we thought it only fair to share our explorations. Et voila.

Here's why walking helps the work and wellbeing of your people and how to use it to improve creativity during COVID-19.

walking man

Take a stroll through: 

  1. Why walking works

  2. Encouraging wellbeing apps

  3. Self aware: stay alert during lockdown 


“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” Friedrich Nietzsche 1889

As we push through lockdown, the days and weeks merge into one, blurring like a Monet, repeating like a TikTok.

Wherever you're sat right now - still in business, just operating, on pause or searching for plan b - it's okay to feel unsettled, uninspired and flat.

We're with you. It's not normal and it's not easy.

Pause for a moment. Acknowledge your feelings, then stretch those legs and head out for a walk. 

Why walking helps work

Walking helps work by improving focus, energy and stimulating our creative juices. So, we're exploring:

1. Why walking works for your team's health and wellbeing

2. How you can help your people find their feet, step outside into nature and feel the physical and psychological benefits for themselves.

Let's look at the facts.

Walking is an easy-to-implement strategy to increase appropriate novel idea generation. When there is a premium on generating new ideas in the workday, it should be beneficial to incorporate walks (Hamilton, Healy, Dunstan, Zderic, & Owen, 2008;. Hamilton, Hamilton, & Zderic, 2007).

Walking research shows that:

  • Out-of-the-box-thinking happens when we step out of the box.
  • A short stroll is good for health and wellbeing.
  • Walking is great for calming the respiratory system, quietening the mind and offering space to explore.
  • As a low-impact activity, walking is kinder on the joints and thought to increase bone density over time. 

It doesn't matter where either. Whether that's round your garden, inside on a treadmill or out, about and knee deep in nature, walking:

  • improves creativity;
  • helps to build immunity;
  • improves circulation; and
  • calms the nervous system. 

And like that post-workout high, the results continue through to when your bum is firmly back on that seat and in front of the screen. 

Whether inside on a treadmill watching nature on the screen or about in the fresh outdoors, the physical action of walking helps to calm the body and encourage creative thought. 




Employee walking apps that work

Our friends at Yulife put walking at the centre of their business. It's great to see it cottoning on, with more and more people turning to walking and meditating apps to help track and manage their health and fitness goals. 

Since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, they've noticed improvements in wellbeing activities; long walks are up by 39% and there's a 15% increase in meditation sessions on the app so far. Fingers crossed it will continue.

yulife why walking helps work and wellbeing

Yulife helps your team understand, improve and take control of their own health and wellbeing through a gamification app that rewards steps and mindful minutes with coins. As you commit to improving fitness and dedicate time to the healthy actions, you quickly build resilience and feel the footings of what it's like to literally become a 'well being'. 

Their brand chief, Sammy Rubin, believes there are four pillars to healthy people, teams and businesses. Starting with the self, Sammy's research shows that balancing sleep, nutrition, exercise and meditation has rapid, transformative effects on anyone willing to adopt the philosophy. 

The app is a tangible tool to help your staff and people harness their potential by encouraging and rewarding healthy habits such as, walking and meditation. 

They've kept it interesting and light hearted. Each day the user automatically clocks points for each step. Points turn to coins and coins are then swapped for online retail vouchers, experiences or employee development schemes. 

From personal experience, I'm happy to verify; it's highly addictive. And good for you. One week in and I already feel healthier. And whether that's merely because that's what the stats say is by the by. It helps me feel grateful for getting up, out and about. And therefore, I do it more.  

Stay aware and alert during lockdown

1. Stay alert

The government recently released guidance on staying safe outside your home to help clarify the new lockdown rules and permissions.

Likewise for use of any employee health and wellbeing app during this time, remember to encourage your team to keep their wits about them, stay two metres apart and err on the side of common sense. 

2. Close your tabs and switch off

To become alert you need to switch off. By shutting down our emails and ignoring the external, we can begin to create self awareness and most importantly, see the results of calm, intended work. 

Meditation, like walking, creates space in the mind and body to help process and work through thoughts, emotions and behaviours. It's also part of Yulife's app quests to, again, help improve employee wellbeing.

By 'going within' and taking time to pause, then observe, acknowledge and release, we can begin to understand more about ourselves, our triggers, anxieties and motivators. It's from this very understanding that we can face friction, heal wounds and create room for new ideas, thoughts and healthy actions.

too many tabs meditation

Take your browser for instance. If there are too many tabs open, it slows down and can't work properly. The longer you leave it with tabs and apps spinning akimbo, the less efficient your computer and efforts will be.

Well walking and taking the time to pause is the antidote. And meditation is another tool to help you close those windows, manage your processes and make the most of your day. 

In fact, you'll find that just a few minutes of refocusing your breath - away from the report, email and task at hand - makes all the difference.

Afterall, the more we know, the more we can control. So the more we meditate. Try it. Start with one minute of guided meditation and feel the effects for yourself.

We love that Yulife syncs with health data apps, including Insighttimer.com - the #1 free meditation and mindfulness app - to encourage daily upkeep of the good habits and keep you on top form. 

3. Podcasts to plod-along to

If you're already a subscriber to the People Project Podcast, you'll know how much we love podcasts and learning hands-free. Stay alert and up to date with YuLife's “Walking with…”, a podcast series which dives into the world of wellbeing to the backdrop of a leisurely stroll.

Tune in and join Sammy Rubin, founder of yulife and his guests as they walk through local communities and explore previous life lessons. 

One of us? Good news. Breathe customers receive a 15% discount on all Yulife products. Simply visit the Marketplace, pop in your details and leave the rest to them.

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Posted on 20 May, 2020

By Rachael Down

in Health and wellbeing

Tag Health and wellbeing

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