“When we give ourselves over to the art of walking,” writes John Kaag over at Aeon, “we exist in the moment for no reason or purpose other than that of the experience alone, for the appreciation and apprehension of beauty. There is no purpose in this occurrence, only the immeasurable effect it has on our nerves, our body, our being. Woe the society that sees little or no value in this.”
He’s right. I’ve been walking for a long time—it’s my usual lunchtime activity—and, for almost as long, I’ve occupied myself during those walks with a podcast or two, figuring that I might as well be learning something at the same time. The thing is, though, walking is good not only for your legs and your lungs; it’s also great for your mind—provided you’re not filling it with yet more information. Try it without the earbuds. Greet passersby. Listen to the birds.
It’s amazing what this small act of rebellion can do for your mental health.