Why walking solves problems

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On the 13th September, the Smith family acquired a dog. It’s name is Boullé. This is a disappointing name I must admit. I’m not sure of it’s origins but I do know one thing. The dog responds when I use it. This makes it all the more disappointing as it makes changing it that much more loaded as I imagine him skipping off into the forest thinking I’m calling my other dog. Who’s called Maverick or something more suitable. I digress.

A dog will find water with incredible diligence

The reason why this fur ball has become the subject of this missive is because since his acquisition, I’ve been doing a lot more walking. Not just walking from place to place; but walking for no reason other than to exercise him daily. Walking in nature (so he shits in the woods) and marvelling at his ability to find wet and water wherever and whatever the weather.

Despite the cleaning of paws and the rejigging of the schedule to bring dog walking into the day, a very unexpected benefit has come out of these walking escapades. I can progress or solve issues as I go.

You may question why this is surprising. Indeed just a quick google of ‘walking solves problems’ reveals a cornucopia of links to scientific and less scientific sources supporting the argument. Not just that, one of my favourite podcast / blogs, The Art of Manliness has a whole post of walking and the Mexican phrase “Solvitur Ambulando” (It is solved by walking).

Unsurprising as it may be, it deserves a little more consideration here as to why. As an example on my way to Blueleaf several times a week I’m in the car for over an hour. Granted I often listen to Podcasts or Audiobooks but I’ve also had several journeys where I’ve had silence. I’ve tried to problem solve and think and for some reason it never gets anywhere. The mind wanders or gets interrupted by an island, traffic light or something else mundane on the road. It doesn’t work for me. The same goes for running. I run occasionally (once a week) and each time the same thing happens. No traffic lights maybe, but remembering to breathe properly, refocusing on form, all upsets the concentration.

So with all this previous experience of poor focus, the walking solving revelation has been incredibly useful as not only am I now exercising the dog, exercising myself and breathing in some super fresh air, I can solve some issues and opportunities too.

Here’s 3 tips I’ve picked up while practicing this:

  • Tip 1: go on basically the same route. A little deviation here and there is no worries, but to help solve issues the brain is better freed up. A known route requires less attention.
  • Tip 2: don’t listen to any audio or headphones. Might be obvious but for me, I need the peace and quiet.
  • Tip 3: go into nature. The less people the better, the less distractions of shops, adverts, roads, etc, the better.

One problem I’ve solved is the dog naming issue. I’m sticking with his given name in public. In private, I call him DogFace for my own amusement. Balance has been restored. A great victory for walking solving if I do say so myself. As Keith Cunningham is fond of saying: “Go think, you’ll thank me later”

PS Not all solutions (as you’ve just read) are high quality ones. 

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