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How to Problem-Solve? It is Solved by Walking

by | Tue, Oct 22 2019

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We are being told that sitting is killing us! Yet 50% of Australian workers have jobs that involve sitting at least some of the time. On average Australians sit for 10 hours or more per day. [1]

Research has found that after 30 minutes of sitting your metabolism has slowed 90%. [2] In the 19th century, the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote;

Evidence suggests that prolonged sitting is common in Australian workplaces. It is associated with significant negative health outcomes and is increasingly being recognised in the community as an important issue that needs attention.

For the past decade, there has been exponential growth in international research into Sedentary Behaviour (SB) and the research tells us that there are serious health risks associated with “prolonged” and “excessive” sitting.

I don’t know about you, but there are days where it all gets a bit overwhelming and before I realise, it is the end of the day, I haven’t had a break, I’ve skipped lunch and wondering why my mind is running on overload and my whole body has gone stiff. The simple answer is because I have been so focused that I haven’t got off my chair for hours.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been intentional in finding ways on how to reclaim time to focus on SELF and assess what is taking over every waking minute of my life. During this time I discovered a new phrase—solvitur ambulando. This is a Latin phrase, which loosely means ‘it is solved by walking’.

This phrase caught my attention since there are seasons in my work-life where I lose track of time—’Five more minutes. I’ll just finish what I’m working on.’ That is what I tell myself regularly because I’m in the middle of something … but before I realise, hours have passed by.

I became so intrigued by the concept of ‘it is solved by walking’ that I started to read and research further into the origin of the phrase and how it had been adopted and utilised over the centuries? I was quickly reminded how over the decades with developments in technology, transportation and amenities to mention just a few, have been contributing factors that have eroded our need to move physically.

Everything tends to be, or at times, we demand that they are at our fingertips, and the benefits of the simple act of walking which our predecessors experienced now has become something we reserve for when we have time, or if it gets scheduled in our diaries. Over time as we have adapted to these ‘advances’ which have made out our life easier and more comfortable, attitudes (feelings, beliefs, or opinions) have formed generating our behaviours (actions or reactions).

I don’t know about you, but in general, we’re spending more time sitting at whether it’s in our various jobs, our desks, in cars or public transport and being glued to our devices day and night. In addition, we’re trying to balance never-ending priorities, work deadlines, taking kids to extracurricular activities, caring for ageing family members, participating in community activities, the list goes on and on. And each day we tend to spend less and less time spending time caring for SELF.

From a leader’s perspective, we are being watched by our staff; what we say, what we do, what we don’t do, and that includes simple things like; do we take breaks, do we have lunch, are we at work at all hours, do we get off our chairs and do a spin around the office? If we are not careful:

  • we are in danger of sabotaging our wellbeing at all levels – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
  • we could unintentionally be poor role models to our staff. Some of our team will perceive our behaviour as an expectation on them not to have breaks and not to get off their seats.

Walking is open to almost everyone, whether young or old, rich or poor. Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby (1826-93), British statesman in his The Conduct of Life, address at Liverpool College, 20 Dec 1873 outlined a simple and poignant observation:

Physical Benefits

Most of us are quite familiar with the physical benefits of walking – these are just a few:

  • weight loss
  • strengthen the heart
  • lower blood sugar
  • lower cholesterol
  • ease joint pain
  • boost the immune function
  • boost energy
  • extend your life.

Mental and Emotional Benefits

Beyond the physical benefits of walking, we tend to forget, or unaware that walking can provide so much more. The following are just but a few of the benefits walking can provide to our mental, emotional and spiritual beings:

  • improve brain function
  • declutter your mind and help you think clearer
  • improve your mood, prevent depression and reduce anxiety
  • think creatively
  • improve self-esteem
  • reduce stress
  • increase our productivity
  • become happier
  • improve emotional control
  • improve memory
  • improves relationships
  • heightens intuition
  • prepares your mind for prayer and meditation, and
  • improves your overall wellbeing. [3] [4]

Walking and the Bible

For millennia, men and women have sojourned, using walking to journey into foreign lands. This act has and continues to provide the traveller with a means to separate self from the everyday distractions of life and search for a greater understanding of self, and to be able to set aside time to be still and discern God’s guidance.

To sojourn is much more than just visiting a place, it represents instruction, learning the things represented by that area. In the Bible we read about, when Abraham and his immediate descendants sojourned in a variety of foreign places. A sojourner is willing to learn and accept new spiritual truths. [5]

Bible Verses to Inspire Your Walk

  • Do you not know that you are a [a]temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NASB
  • And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. ~ Exodus 6:4 KJV
  • Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:30-31 NIV
  • After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country. Mark 16:12 NASB
  • And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NIV
  • But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. Galatians 5:16-17 NASB

Where to From Here

Next time you’re stuck trying to solve a problem, experiencing writer’s block, afternoon brain fog, or feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks at hand wondering how on earth you’ll get it all done in time to meet the deadline.

I invite you to press the PAUSE button in your day no matter what you’re doing and implement solvitur ambulando in your daily life. Who knows? In the walking, your mind may start to unclutter, bringing clarity to the situation and even solve the challenge at hand.

References
[1] ‘Sitting and Standing’, Safe Work Australia. 
[2] ‘Sitting is the new smoking’, Start Standing. 
[3] ‘Walking for Good Physical and Mental Health’, Heart Foundation. 
[4] 45 Physical, Mental and Spiritual Benefits of Exercise, Medium. 
[5] ‘Sojourn’, New Christian Bible Study

Elizabeth Torres-Russell

About the Author

Elizabeth Torres-Russell (ET) is the Chief Development Officer at Vision Christian Media.

She was born and lived in Barcelona, Spain in an era where her parents were legally discriminated and persecuted for their Christian religious beliefs. Despite this, her parents continued to share the gospel, demonstrated Christ-like love to all, and taught ET and her siblings to put God first above all. To fight for what they believed in. To keep dreaming and to never, ever give up hope.

After 30 + years working in the private and public sectors and with an extensive range of experience working in broadcast media, marketing and communication, program management, policy, organisational development and Aboriginal and Torres-Strait Islander affairs. She joined Vision in February 2016 to lead the Development Division.