When someone asked me recently if I walked very much, I almost had to reach for my iPhone to see if there was an app for that.
We can get so used to travelling around the place by car that we can think our legs were designed for the purpose of pushing pedals, rather than pounding the ground.
Of course, you dog owners are forced to walk, come rain or shine. And in the dark winter months I have nothing but deep admiration for you. I really do. But the rest of us have to work a little harder to find the motivation to leave our armchairs and desks behind.
Even with free access to Suffolk’s 9800 registered public rights of way, adding up to a network of routes with a distance of 3500 miles and over 12,000 acres of open access land, we can still struggle to find our walking shoes.
So ask yourself this: have you ever had the urge to get out and take a walk to clear your head and think through a situation or problem? Me too! Researchers at Stanford University tell us that this is no coincidence.
They have found that walking boosts inspiration. A person’s creative input is increased by an average of 60%. One prime example is Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, who was famous for his walking meetings.
When we walk a neurological and physiological connection is being made. In short, our movement influences our mind and manipulates the way we think. Our feet and head might be at the opposite ends of the body, but Stanford’s research tells us that they are closer than we think.I remember in theological college I was encouraged to take a break after every two hours of study. We were repeatedly told that a rest from the intensity of study was good not just for the soul, but for the brain and would make us more productive.
So it is probably not that surprising to discover how important walking is in the Bible. Admittedly, there wasn’t much choice as the combustion engine was still a number of centuries off, but nevertheless significant things happen when people move about.
On one occasion two guys were walking towards Emmaus as they were trying to get their heads around the events of the past few days in Jerusalem. They had seen how the great miracle-worker and teacher from Nazareth was publicly tortured, crucified and buried. They had hoped that he was the one to bring freedom and life to all. And to cap it all, his body had gone missing.
Jesus appears on the road with them, but his identity is kept hidden. In their conversation he is able to speak into their thoughts and open their eyes to the bigger picture. He later reveals himself to them when breaking the bread at a meal.
Well, the penny finally drops and maybe while slapping their foreheads in comedic fashion said, “Did our hearts not burn within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures up to us?”
It has been said that the destination is the catalyst, while it is the journey that that changes us. Jesus joins us as a companion on the paths in life, however challenging, and in return offers us a close communion in himself. Through his loving presence he provides hope through the gift of creativity and revelation.
And that in itself is worth getting out more for.