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Ommetje – the art of taking a short walk

The time we spent inside our rooms has massively increased over the last year. Online lectures, events, and meetings leave us glued to a computer screen for a great deal of the day. Even when work is finished, we continue to look at screens either scrolling through Instagram or watching Netflix. Suddenly, three days have gone by without you leaving the house. How could it be any different? One of the only reasons to  go outside right now is to buy some groceries. Most days feel like a repetition of the last day: Getting up, turning on the laptop, working, watching Netflix, and maybe eating something in between. All of these things can start to mess with our minds and feelings. With the current measures, it becomes a struggle to stay positive and motivated.  To fully address this topic the upcoming blogs will be a series of posts regarding mental health during this pandemic.

Especially the lack of movement and the feeling of repetition can have a huge influence on us. During a time like this, it is more important than ever to get out of the house and leave the work behind for a few well deserved minutes.

A daily 30-minute walk in your neighborhood will not only burn calories, revive your muscles and allow you to get fresh air, but will also have an impact on your mental state. Studies have shown that regular exercise increases self-esteem and cognitive function which will reduce anxiety and depression. The effect that a simple walk can have on someones state of mind is incredible.

All of this might sound very beneficial in theory. However, the reality of finding the motivation to actually go outside can be exhausting in itself. After a long day of studying the thought of having to do another task usually does not sound too tempting. What is needed is an additional goal and, luckily, we can find some in the App store.

The app “Ommetje” challenges you to take a walk everyday. For every walk you take – if it was twenty minutes or longer – you will earn points or a medal. To make things even more fun, you can also create teams and see the progress of your friends.

If you are looking for a bigger challenge you can make use of Apps like “Pacer” or “Fitbit”. Both apps show you in their free version how many steps you have taken during the day. Even though “Fitbit” was created to be connected to a tracking device, the app can also count your steps through your phone. You could challenge a friend to see who can take more steps a day or during a week. The prospect of beating your friend might increase your motivation to get up and get moving.

One of my personal favorites and a huge motivation boost is “Charity Miles”. You can connect this App to certain step counters and for every mile you walk a company will donate money to the charity of your choice. Taking a walk will not only help you but will also support the work of a charity.