Saturday, 9 February 2013

Made for Walking

I love reading those little paragraphs in the glossy Sunday magazines which give you a few lines on all sorts of things you wouldn't otherwise get to see.

I came across one which said that to boost creativity you should go for a walk but without your mobile.  Apparently this advice comes from David Strayer, professor of psychology at the University of Utah.

We often say "I can't get my head round it" when we're trying to explain that some situation has us stymied.  "I need a bit of peace and quiet" we moan when all around us people are losing their heads.  So it's not a new thought.  In Professor Strayer's research he found that people who went into the wilderness without a mobile phone or other high tech device increased their problem-solving skills by 50%.  My question is:  did we need a survey to tell us that?  When we're wrestling with that report which has to be finished by Friday don't we try and scrunch ourselves away in some corner, head down, and try to be invisible from the common demands of our colleagues? 

Another article I read said that physical exercise or doing yoga in your lunch hour improved your physical and mental health.  This bears out what Prof. Strayer says.  Moving your body, stretching your muscles, walking of any kind is great to iron out those wrinkles in your brain.

The interesting thing about these bits of wisdom is that they tell us something we know already and I can just see working mothers throwing up their hands and demanding to know where they can get the time. Any mother of small children, whether she is a working mum or not, gets more than enough exercise - lifting toddlers and shopping, doing the ironing, dashing to kindergarten.  So who needs yoga when you can get all that stretching at home?   Usually, though, her head will be full of planning what she has to do next and after a day of toddler tantrums, her mental health might be on the brink of collapsing.  The only time she can clear her thoughts is when the little ones are asleep and by then, if she is anything like I was when my kids were young, she won't feel up to anything more strenuous than a quick look at Strictly Come Dancing before she hits the sack.  Maybe toddlers are just as good for your general health as all that exercise and yoga.  It's a thought.

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