Why These Nine Famous Thinkers Walked So Much

Walking isn’t just exercise or a practical way to get from point A to point B, although it is both those things. Walking is one of the features that makes humans human. It’s such an integral part of the human condition that most of us take for granted the advantages of walking upright on two feet with hands free—unless the ability to walk is taken from us, of course.  I’ve put a good deal of energy into extolling the health benefits of walking and why everyone who’s able should walk more. Hint: it’s not just to burn calories or save the environment by leaving your car at home. I walk every day because it’s when I get some of my best thinking done. Sometimes my walks are purposeful, sometimes they are meditative, sometimes they are much-needed breaks from a stressful day. My best, most restorative walks involve a natural setting like a beach or hiking trail, though urban walking is still highly valuable. In short, my daily walks are critical to health, energy, mental clarity, and ultimately, I believe, my vitality. And I’m not the only one who feels this way. Many of the most accomplished and creative people throughout history have also found walking to be an integral part of their daily routines and key to their success as artists, creators, writers, musicians, thinkers, and human beings. Let’s look at how some of these folks used walking to improve their work: Aristotle Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher, empiricist, and pupil to Plato, conducted his lectures while walking the grounds of his school in Athens. His followers (who quite literally followed him as he walked) were even known as the peripatetics—Greek for meandering or walking about. Ah, to witness one of history’s greatest minds utilizing the cognitive benefits of moving while thinking must have been incredible. Words of wisdom from the man himself: The energy or active exercise of the mind constitutes life. William Wordsworth The poet with the most fitting surname ever, William Wordsworth reportedly walked nearly 175,000 miles throughout his life while maintaining a prolific writing career. He managed these two seemingly opposing habits because for Wordsworth, walking was writing in a way. As he saw it, the act of walking was “indivisible” from the act of writing poetry. Both were rhythmic, both employed meter. He needed to walk in order to write. Walking was also in his blood. William’s sister Dorothy was an extremely accomplished walker and writer in her own right. How do you become an accomplished walker, you ask? She climbed England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, in 1818, a time when women were largely absent from the mountaineering scene. She also accompanied brother William on many of his daily walks and is credited with being a major influence in his thinking and writing.  Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher. -“The Tables Turned” Charles Dickens Charles Dickens, author, social commentator, walker? Yes. After writing from 9 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon, … Continue reading Why These Nine Famous Thinkers Walked So Much