Every morning as part of my meditation and gratitude routine, I read a daily passage in the Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. For those of you who haven’t read this, there is one quote from an early philosopher each day that helps guide you to form good habits. I have been re-reading June 21st’s passage for a few days now because I am so amazed that this healthful recommendation has been advised for 2000 years when Seneca first said it.
Now, we could talk all about the scientific research that is known about walking (which I’m sure I’ll delve into one of these days for you). But today, I just want to soak in all the wisdom that has come before us on the topic. Many times we forget the strength of experience when it comes to evidence. But learning from the lessons Seneca, Thomas Jefferson and Hippocrates can have just as much value.
Let’s start with Seneca’s first. As an advisor for many emperors during the early years of the first century, Seneca had many leaders looking to his writings for help while to solving life’s problems. Since this time, world leaders, historians, authors and many others have used his teachings and expanded on them, tailoring them to be just as relevant today as they were 2000 years ago.
Take this quote for example. “We should take wandering outdoor walks, so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.” Seneca recommended walking as a great tool for clearing the mind during times of confusion or stress. Then, as time goes on many others made similar recommendations.
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” –Henry David Thoreau, Poet
“After a day’s walk everything has twice its usual value.” –George Macauley Trevelyan, Historian
“Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” –Thomas Jefferson, 3rdU.S. President
“If you are in a bad mood go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood go for another walk.” –Hippocrates, Father of Medicine
“Walking… is how the body measures itself against the Earth.” –Rebecca Solnit, American Author
“Walking is the natural recreation for a man who desires not absolutely to suppress his intellect but to turn it out to play for a season.” –Leslie Stephen, English Author and Historian
The list goes on and on. I’m going to put the wisdom to the test. I’m going to take a walk every day this week and reflect on how I felt before and after my walk. We’ll see if my mood improves after each walk. I think you all should join me. So pick your favorite quotes about walking, hang them up on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator and get out there. See what all those old wisdoms have to offer. Don’t forget to tell us all about it. Below is a sample Walking Log you can use to get yourself started.