We all know how important it is to get our steps in — especially if we sit at a desk for the majority of the day — but getting to our feet isn’t always a top priority with a jam-packed schedule. In the midst of back-to-back meetings and pressing deadlines, reserving time for a mid-afternoon stroll or post-dinner walk doesn’t always feel feasible. That’s where your Microstep comes in. By adding a too-small-to-fail change to your existing routine — like parking at the outer edge of the parking lot — you’ll be on your way to move movement in no time, plus you’ll experience some additional benefits you might not expect. 

Taking an outside stroll can help lower stress 

Nature isn’t just nice to look at — it can help us deal with stress, too. Research published in Frontiers in Psychology has found that walking in nature can cause a significant drop in the stress hormone cortisol. For optimal stress reduction, MaryCarol Hunter, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Michigan and the lead author of the study, suggests getting outside for 20-30 minutes at a time. Parking at the outer edge of the lot when you arrive at work, or whenever you run errands, is a perfect way to find some time outside and an opportunity for extra steps. 

Some extra steps can ease the harmful side effects of sitting 

It’s become common knowledge that sitting at a desk all day is pretty detrimental to our physical health. According to the Mayo Clinic, one analysis found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to those posed by smoking and obesity. Other outcomes of “sitting disease” include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and depression, which is why making sure you get enough movement each day is especially important if you work a desk job. According to the Harvard Health Blog, just 25 minutes of physical activity (walking counts!) can help offset the negative negative health effects of sitting all day.

Walking is a catalyst for creative thinking

If you’re feeling stuck, adding some extra steps to your routine is sure to get your creative juices flowing. A Stanford University study found that walking can boost “creative ideation” and out-of-the-box thinking. What’s more, the researchers found that participants were able to come up with more novel ideas when walking, rather than sitting down. It turns out taking some time to stroll across the parking lot might lead you to your next “aha” moment at work. 

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.