I’ve been paying attention recently to outdoor therapy – and in particular, to coaching by walking. I’ve got some ideas around it, and am working with others to take them further. In the meantime, my belief in its value was cemented when I read about Albert Einstein’s preference for a daily walk.
Apparently, when working at Princeton University, he would walk the mile and a half to his office and back.
Nothing too revelatory there. People didn’t always have cars; public transport wasn’t always as available; not everyone is a couch potato.
But it seems that despite walking being an activity that distracts us from tasks of a more cerebral nature, by forcing us to focus on the skill of walking, of putting one foot in front of the other, it enables something called “transient hypofrontality” – simply put, a toning down of activity in the frontal lobes, forcing the brain to adopt an entirely different style of thinking.
Having only just read about transient hypofrontality, I’d no idea previously that it existed.
But I had, for many years, referred to my “shower moments” – the numerous occasions when, after alighting from the cubicle, I realised I’d worked out the answers to a difficulty that had been on my mind.
I’m afraid I don’t have all the science to hand that can explain transient hypofrontality in more detail – look it up, why don’t you?! – but it’s an explanation that I like. And I’m more than happy to take all the shower moment insights I can get … increasingly, I seem to do some of my best work there!
Now, if only I could invent a waterproof laptop . . .