David Shayt, Gaithersburg

WHAT I DO Walk a seven-mile circuit around the outside of the campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the center of the doughnut that is the city of Gaithersburg.

WHY The walk is a 13/4-hour head-clearing interlude that allows me to focus on an unresolved problem, take in the natural world that passes on one side, and ponder the civilization that passes on the other. More than once I have used this walk-around to resolve a workplace dilemma, using my feet and thoughts to unscrew the lid off a jar of solutions. By the seventh mile, somehow a new approach to an old question has presented itself.

HOW I DO IT I stride along with my trusty aluminum monopod staff, using it as a kind of metronome or counterweight to maintain a 15-minute-per-mile pace and ward off the occasional fox or deer. Halfway through, I have no choice but to continue around the doughnut if I'm to get back home. My muscles start talking back to me: "How about a rest?" I just say, "There's no discussion here. We're going on."

RESULTS I am 50 years old, with some blood pressure concerns. I use this as way of addressing heart fitness and endurance. I come back feeling invigorated.

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