About a year and a half ago I started regular Walk and Talks with my theater group. You can read in detail why here, but the goal was to offer more opportunities for people to connect outside of the 5 to 10 minute quick snippet visits that would take place at our currently disbanded theater outings. I also wanted to prove to non-believers that yes there are quite a few waterfalls in Central Park. So now I ask some 600 + every week if they want to go on a walk with me.
At the end of each and every Walk and Talk there is a moment of shared appreciation for the experience within whatever group has been assembled. I often wonder out loud why everybody in the group doesn’t join. Maybe someday all 600 will turn up? That would be a great, though unwieldy, day.
The Walk and Talks are in a word: FUN. We laugh, we explore, and my new, new thing is we feed birds. By hand! We go to the middle of the park in the greatest metropolis in the world and we have birds calmly perch on our open palms for a morning snack (see video proof below).
Yes I acknowledge these Snow White moments get me inches from being that crazy bird lady, but it is a thrill and I love it. This new predilection also forces the awe aspect of our walks that I wrote about last week in a blog post. Feeding birds demands a hush to fall over our exuberant group enabling us to be in awe of the park not just with our eyes but also our ears, ratcheting up our enforced gazing moments quite a few notches. Makes you want to sneak some bird food into your pocket for your next amble through a park eh? Try it.
Over and above fun it turns out this activity – walking – is one of the better things we can do for ourselves. Here are two articles that recently caught my eye regarding this very simple and basic mode of transportation. First I found this article in the Harvard Business review. That led me to this article in The New Yorker. Click at your leisure, but give this persuasive paragraph in the latter article a perusal:
“What is it about walking, in particular, that makes it so amenable to thinking and writing? The answer begins with changes to our chemistry. When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them.”
What!!?? All of that and FUN? And all of this time I thought it was just a walk. 🙂 Grab Your Group and GO for a walk.
To get in the loop of when and where we Walk and Talk click here. All are welcome. Or start your own walk and talk group. So easy, fun, and good for you and your group. (Don’t forget the bird seed!)