Walking is a wonderful way to work some exercise into your day and to enjoy numerous health benefits, regardless of age or fitness level. For freelancers and other self-employed people, a short walk can also serve as a nice oasis from an otherwise busy day. Walking may even help prevent certain diseases and even help you live a longer life.
The best part? Walking is free to do and fairly easy to work into a day, no matter what your schedule looks like. All you need is a pair of some comfortable shoes; Fitbits and other step counters are optional! Let’s look at some of the benefits that walking can offer self-employed people.
While most people reach for coffee or other forms of caffeine, you may want to try getting out for a walk instead. Some studies suggest that going for a 20-minute walk could energize you as much as a cup of coffee! Walking helps increase the flow of oxygen throughout your body and can also bump up levels of epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol, all of which help elevate energy levels.
Walking can also help to energize your mood. Studies show that walking reduces anxiety, depression, and bad moods. Walking can also reduce symptoms of social withdrawal and help to boost self-esteem. The next time you feel a little tapped out or bummed out, skip the coffee machine and grab your gym shoes instead!
Everyone gets stressed out from time to time, especially the self-employed. Managing clients, finishing work on a deadline, managing back-office tasks, and staying organized can all take its toll on someone who is self-employed. Walking is a useful way to combat some of that stress. In fact, a UK study discovered that walking through greenery can actually put the brain in a meditative state, triggering “involuntary attention.” Involuntary attention is a state where a person can simultaneously hold attention while reflecting.
Walking outside can bump up the stress-fighting factor even more. Walking through nature has been shown to relieve stress and improve one’s ability to pay attention and remember things. Walking outside can actually boost memory and attention span up to 20%.
No one likes to be sick but self-employed people can be especially sensitive to coming down with a cold or the flu. Working for yourself means you don’t necessarily get “paid time off.” Time spent battling a cold or the flu is time not spent earning income. Good news! Walking can reduce your risk of getting a cold or the flu.
Studies confirm that walking at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes daily can reduce the time spent under the weather. One study, in particular, watching 1,000 adults during flu season. Those who were able to squeeze a 30 or 45-minute walking session into their day experienced 43% fewer sick days and experienced fewer upper respiratory tract infections. Even those who did get sick experienced less severe symptoms compared to the more sedentary adults tracked in the study.
Walking is a great way to allow your imagination to roam freely. Consider inserting a 15- or 30-minute walk break into your day to help you clear your head and to spur creative thinking. One study showed that people were better able to think of new ideas when walking as compared to when sitting. The research found that walking, especially walking outdoors, can open the mind up to a free flow of ideas. Walking is an easy way to get creative while also working some physical activity into your day.
Consider bringing a small notepad and a pen with you when you go on your walk. This is a good way to capture any interesting ideas that might pop up. Stumped with a work problem or just feeling “blah”? Head out and get some steps in.
Wondering how you can walk more? Here are some ideas to help you get the blood pumping and work more steps into your day:
Skip the elevator and take the stairs
Add a walk into your post-dinner routine instead of crashing on the couch
Get competitive and encourage friends to beat the amount of time you spend walking each day.
Park in a spot a little further away from the door the next time you run to the store.
Looking for other tips and tricks to get and stay healthy while self-employed? Don’t forget to speak with your primary care physician. They can help you build a healthy routine that keeps you feeling great. Bonus: all Decent health plans offer free primary care, so you can visit your doctor as frequently as you’d like...for free. Get your free quote today.