Looking for a fun way to keep yourself occupied when out for a walk, or even a run, why not a try a colour walk. It’s a great way to rack up extra steps – and, it might also have some positive effects on your mood or mindset as well.
What is a Colour Walk?
Or even a color walk if you’re one of my American readers!!!
It’s very simple – you just head out for a walk and try and find a number of different things of one colour as possible while you’re outside.
The father of the colour walk is said to be American writer William S Burroughs, but I first saw the idea from some travel bloggers I know called Mr and Mrs Romance.
For some of their Instagram posts, they have been walking around the suburb of Balmain in Sydney, finding pretty things of a particular colour – and, I thought, what a great way to get your steps up – and, so I came up with a way to make it exercise-friendly.
Before we get to that though, why would you want to this…
What Benefits Might You Get From a Colour Walk
Well, for starters it gets you moving….but as well as the fitness benefits you get simply from going for walk, it’s going to make your walk far more interesting which could make you more inclined to go.
Let’s face it, if you’re trying to walk every day, or trying to achieve your 10,000 steps, and you walk around your house or office every day it can get a bit boring – but, this helps you look at even a route you’ve walked 100 times in a different way.
On top of this however, there’s a theory that different colours can have different effects on our mood.
Well, I say a theory – it’s actually proven in lots of different studies – but I like the one below as it showed all sort of fascinating results.
A 2016 experiment by hygiene company Tork aimed to try and look at how colour affects mood by measuring people’s brain waves and heart rate – which would show how they were feeling.
They asked 16 people to spend five minutes in rooms of a variety of colours and discovered that things did change depending on the colour people we’re looking at.
Green environments, for example, created feelings of relaxation and calm and a slower heart rate, blue rooms were also calming but the people also experienced a rise in a type of brain wave called theta waves that are associated with creative thinking; yellow made people feel alert and focused. White didn’t really do very much at all.
Going out on a colour walk therefore might leave you feeling differently than before you went out.
How To Do a Colour Walk
It couldn’t be easier. You just walk, look for coloured things and count them! However, there are a few ways to do that…
You can either just decide to go out for a set number of minutes or steps and, during that, aim to spot as many incidences of your chosen colour that you can. Next time, try and beat that number – which will possibly see you walking faster to try and get more sightings in your minutes.
Or, you can pick a number of ‘things’ you need to find of a certain colour – 5-10-30 – setting rules like you can only have one of a ‘type’ of thing – so, only one door, flower, car/vehicle, piece of clothing or, that the colour can only be natural, not painted – or vice versa, depending on where you’re walking. You then have to keep walking until you find your allotted number.
You can also just decide to go out for a set period of time – but, allow your chosen colour to help you decide where to walk. So, you have to walk straight down a road until you spot something of your colour and then you are allowed to turn left – or right – at the next junction.
Once you’ve been out for a certain amount of time (or turns), you then you can head back home whatever way you fancy.
Obviously, take a smartphone with you on this one so you don’t get hopelessly lost – and only do it somewhere you know well so you don’t end up accidently wandering into an area that might not be that safe.
What Colour Should You Pick?
You can just pick your favourite colour, go through the colours of the rainbow choosing a different one for each day of the week or, even head out with no colour in mind and just choose to follow the first colour that jumps out at you.
However, by picking your colour carefully to a mood you need to create you could potentially affect your mindset during and after your walk and impact the rest of your day. Here’s what might work…
The happiest colour – if you want a short, sharp mood lift – aim to find all the yellow things on your walk.
It’s also good for helping friendships – so, if you’re trying this with a new walking buddy – it might help you bond! (and if it doesn’t check out our guide on how to find your perfect running or walking buddy here)
This has been shown to make you think less about negative thoughts and create more positive ones – so pick this if you’re having a bad day – or want to create a good one. Avoid picking red on days like this- it makes us more alert to danger and negatives.
Green is also a good colour to pick if you’re a bit a tired and don’t feel like heading out for your walk or workout – it’s been shown that people who cycled while looking at a green background found their workout easier than those surrounded by other colours.
If you’ve got to be on your A-game at work, or want to come up with some creative ideas, then, seek out the colour of blue.
It’s seen as the colour of intellect, but on top of that, according to research at the University of British Columbia, blue is associated with peace, tranquility and openness- and that combination increases the chance of creative thought.
Another creative colour – in the theory of colour therapy, it’s said to stimulate the intuition and the imagination.
If you’re stressed out, go on a pink-hunting walk. The calming properties of pale pink are well known after an experiment when a local jail painted a cell pink and found prisoners were much less likely to cause trouble when placed in it!
Don’t stare at it for too long though or you might need a sit down – it’s even been shown that muscles get weaker when people are asked to stare at a pink piece of card.
It’s not the best colour for creating a positive mindset, but it might be a good one if you’re trying to walk faster or only have a short time to exercise.
Not only is red a colour that jumps out at us – meaning you’ll finish your walk more quickly, red is also associated with exercise success – teams wearing red are more likely to win games if they are evenly matched against their opponents.
So there you have it – it’s super simple, but has so many potential benefits. Let me know if you’ve given it a try – or if you came up with a different idea on how to do a color walk.
What to Read Next
If you liked this, you might also like our idea of a 10,000 steps photographic walk which sees you talking pictures of different categories of things on your walk.
Or, try a gratitude walk which helps shift your thinking into a more positive and optimistic state.
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.