Ferris Jabr wrote an article titled Why Walking Helps Us Think in the September 3, 2014 edition of The New Yorker.
“Because we don’t have to devote much conscious effort to the act of walking, our attention is free to wander—to overlay the world before us with a parade of images from the mind’s theatre. This is precisely the kind of mental state that studies have linked to innovative ideas and strokes of insight.”
“When we stroll, the pace of our feet naturally vacillates with our moods and the cadence of our inner speech; at the same time, we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down.”
“Where we walk matters as well. In a study led by Marc Berman of the University of South Carolina, students who ambled through an arboretum improved their performance on a memory test more than students who walked along city streets… Psychologists have learned that attention is a limited resource that continually drains throughout the day. A crowded intersection—rife with pedestrians, cars, and billboards—bats our attention around. In contrast, walking past a pond in a park allows our mind to drift casually from one sensory experience to another, from wrinkling water to rustling reeds.”
“Still, urban and pastoral walks likely offer unique advantages for the mind. A walk through a city provides more immediate stimulation—a greater variety of sensations for the mind to play with. But, if we are already at the brink of overstimulation, we can turn to nature instead.”
“Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” — Henry David Thoreau