The joy of walking

walking in Central Park

There are a lot of amazing ways to get yourself into shape.

My recent experience with boxing certainly did the trick, as did a previous round of marathon running. I love swimming; lots of people enjoy cycling. There are many types of classes at an overwhelming variety of gyms.

There are also many theories and studies about what is best – cardio, weight training, interval, endurance, or some combination of several of these or others.

But what about the forgotten exercise….walking. The old fashioned, put one foot in front of another to get somewhere.

At home, I live in a culture of transportation, where we drive everywhere we need to go. Much of our North American culture is now this way. There are exceptions – we all know people who walk to work, or to run errands, but generally we drive.

We drive our kids to the park, to their friends’  houses, to activities and exercise. We drive ourselves to exercise! We drive to work, for groceries, to the mall, and everywhere else. Our communities are designed to support driving, not walking, as a means of transportation – although that is changing in some of the newer designs.

My current living location has changed, and it has re-awakened my love of walking.

For four months, we are living without a vehicle, renting only as we need one. But we live in a location where we can walk to get anything we need. We can walk to the beach, we can walk downtown, we can walk to any number of restaurants and grocery stores. We can walk to meet friends.

I have always enjoyed going for a walk, but a walk is an event. Now it is more than that. It is almost a lifestyle change, an adjustment of a mindset.

For instance, it’s amazing that I have not thrown out any food. I buy what we need and what can fit in a backpack (other than the big trips with a rental car). I plan my day around whether we need anything, where can I walk to get it, or where we would like to venture today – by foot, on most occasions. As I said, we are still renting a car and doing road trips, and stocking up on big items.

But in general, we are living with foot transport as our means of getting around. And I am really enjoying it.

They say 10,000 steps a day is healthy and I do believe walking remains a great form of exercise. It may not be sculpting me into a bodybuilder, or preparing me for a triathlon, but it’s providing me with a fresh perspective and a boost to my physical and mental health. More on that next time.

So as you begin another work week, think about what you could do to add a walk to your day. Could you go for a short walk at lunch? After supper? Can you walk for a loaf of bread? Get your kids outside with you and walk to the park? Something to consider!

 

walking in New York City

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