You should probably go for a walk

Coming on two years since I wrote about the benefits of walking. I still find walking great for all the reasons mentioned there, but now also have a few to add.

If I have a ton of stuff to mentally parse, I'll typically still go headphone-free. (If you don't do this already, you should start — its a total super-power). But if I don't have a pressing technical problem, I'll use the walk for inspiration and mood-bosting. Half of my walk is for listening to get ideas flowing, and the other half is for thinking and reflecting.

About a month ago, I realized that my Mondays were super-low energy. I'd spend the whole day feeling sluggish, negative, down. Most days I walk at lunchtime and in the late evening, and by this time on Mondays, I have a lot of "bad energy" to overcome. It occurred to me that I should try starting Mondays with a walk. A morning walk doesn't best fit my daily schedule, but I wanted to try something to shake up this Monday malaize. Following my own advice, I did an hour-long walk, half with headphones, half without. Maybe it's just beginners' luck, but I can't recall feeling this positive and energized on a Monday in a long time.

Your watch and phone tell you how much you should probably walk each day. But they don't tell you why. You can find your own individual why, but for me, it goes way beyond the health benefits. Walking can help me iron out a complicated problem. It can help me change or refine the way I'm thinking about something. It can help me make a decision. It can straight-up inject positive energy into my day. Powerful stuff.

Walking is the highest leverage thing I can do most days. Strong, strong recommend.


  1. We got a dog about 10 months ago, so I used to only walk on nice days. No longer an option. Still, even in the absolute worst weather, walks are very much net positive.
  2. Podcasts: Ezra Klein, Tim Ferris, ATP, Dithering.
  3. Gear: Aku boots, Rab rain pants, Arcteryx Jacket and gloves, Helly Hanson neck warmer.
  4. Steps: 10k is my goal. I feel great when I get closer to 15k but that just takes more time than I often have. 10k is the default number on iPhone walking apps, so I went with that. Apparently 7-8k is a better minimum (and its much easier to fit in in a day).
Follow along →@saltcod