Real Food Whole Life

Feel Good Effect: 10 Minute Daily Walk

Feel Good EffectRobyn Downs2 Comments

The Feel Good Effect is a series exploring the habits, tactics and mindsets that you can use in your real life to feel good, everyday.

How it works: Each week I adopt a new Feel Good practice and trial it in my own life for 2 weeks. At the end of the 2 weeks I share what I did, how it went, and the Feel Good Effect.

Feel Good Week 2: 10 Minute Daily Walk


Feel Good Practice 


10 minute daily walk.


Time Commitment


20 minutes, 10 minutes for the actual walk and 5 transition minutes on either side.


Set-Up


None required, though figuring out how to incorporate the walk into a daily routine increased success.


Cost 


None, though a pair of comfortable of shoes is a good idea.


Why I Tried It


Walking even 10 minutes a day has been shown to improve mood, heart health, and overall well-being

Plus, as little as 10 minutes of outdoor time has been linked with a boost in creative thinking and allowing for more graceful aging.


My Feel Good Experience


I love walking. It’s one of my favorite forms of movement, and I find it calms me down, helps me think, and lifts my mood.

I try to walk several days per week, often for several miles, but have found that both lifestyle changes and weather have decreased my walking practice over the past several months.

Between our dog passing aways a few years ago (she made sure I never missed a daily walk) and my transition to working from home, I’ve noticed a pretty significant decrease in the frequency of daily walks.

The idea of walking just 10 minutes a day, then, was really appealing, and I was looking forward to incorporating walking back into my daily routine.

To keep on track, I set a reminder timer each day, which was a good idea in theory but didn’t actually work in practice. The timer often went off when I was on a work call, in the middle of a project, or other times when I didn’t feel like stopping to walk.

An after-dinner walk proved more promising, and turned into a lovely way to connect with Elle and Andrew after a long day, provided the weather was cooperative and we ate dinner early enough to allow time for walking. 

When after-dinner walks weren’t an option, I opted for a walk after putting Elle to bed, though this required that Andrew be home, which wasn’t always possible.


Challenges


You’d think this Feel Good practice would be easy, right? I mean, it’s just 10 minutes.

Not so much.

Three things made the 10 minute daily walk more challenging than I had expected. 

First, the spring weather in Portland has been particularly rainy and cold. I’m a true Oregon girl, and usually a little rain can’t keep me down. 

But this spring it’s been extra dreary, cold, and terribly wet, conditions that made the idea of going outside--if even for a short walk--less than appealing. 

To be honest, most rainy days I really didn’t want to go outside and get cold and wet, if even for 10 minutes.

Second, I struggled with the idea that just 10 minutes would actually count for much. Isn’t that interesting? At times this “not enough” mentality made getting out for the walk less than appealing.

Finally, finding a consistent time to walk was a bit tricky. Like many new routines, I found I was more likely to stick to the practice if I did it at the same time each day.


Feel Good Effect


I’ll admit that sticking to 10 minutes every single day didn’t quite work out, and I skipped 2 days within the 2 week cycle. 

That said, every time I completed a short walk I felt such a positive effect. The combination of fresh air and movement did wonders to lift my spirits and my mood.

Taking short walks also served as a reminder that movement does not have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. Even a tiny effort every day can lead to feeling good.

Also, the walks that included my family turned out to be really special. It reminded me that even a few focused minutes outside together can allow for connection and discussions that aren’t always possible amidst the distractions and everyday chores of the home rhythm.

Overall Feel Good Effect: Medium-High

Is walking a daily Feel Good practice for you? How do you incorporate it into your routine? What positive effects have you experienced as a result?