There is nothing as relaxing, fun, social, thoughtful, enticing, and healthy as walking. Seriously, if I someone offered me a job as full-time walker, I’d take it immediately.
Side note (because my brain is bouncy today): Ever heard of the Appalachian trail? Some people dedicate 6 months of their life to walk up the East coast right through the Appalachian mountains from Georgia to Maryland. Amazing? I’d say so.
Yet around my town, maybe it is just my town, leisure walking is just not a thing. Once, while I was tramping by the side of the road on a perfect sunny day, a police officer stopped me just to make sure nothing was wrong. Another time, a kindly landscaper stopped to insure that I was physically and mentally sound.
I just wish I could shout out to the world (or more specifically to my wonderful albeit sedate home country of America):
WALKING IS WONDERFUL. TRY IT SOMETIME.
Why do I walk? I’m glad you asked.
Walking is the exercise of geniuses.
Here is my favorite infographic in the history of ever:
One principle I gleaned from it? Amongst the most successful men of the past few centuries, walking is a common theme. Dickens, Aristotle, Muir, Tchaikovsky and many many others were known for regular long walks. That’s pretty good advertising for the sport if you ask me.
On that note,
Jane Austen did it.
Every time I read a Jane Austen novel, the walking is what gets me. From Elizabeth Bennett to Fanny Price, whenever the heroine (or villain) needs some exercise or quiet time, they simply take a long walk through the countryside.
What a lovely life! I tell you, the secret charm to Jane Austen’s world is not the unrealistically perfect rich bachelors, it is all that splendid walking. Some girls wish they were born in the 19th century in order to marry Mr. Darcy. All I want is for walking to become THE social and personal activity.
Walking is HEALTHY as anything…
Apparently, 50% of Americans do not exercise on an average day. We all know that a sedentary lifestyle leads to heart disease, chubs, and all sorts of problems. Sure, sometimes I like a dose of the heavier stuff, running or tabata. But walking is an easy and non-intimidating way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
And not just physical health.
In addition to the common sense stuff, Studies
say that walkers retain memory longer, are at lower risk for Alzheimer’s, and have less insomnia. Walking may also boost your mood faster than anti-depressants.
Walking makes me happy.
Just ask my mom. Whenever I get stressed out, angry, sad, or just, you know, hormonal, my mom has one main solution. GO TAKE A WALK. It works every time.
Socializing for introverts just got easier.
Walking is a great social activity. You can carry out a pleasant conversation or intense debate. However, when/if the talking dies down, it isn’t awkward. You can stay busy walking and enjoying the surroundings in silence. Everybody is happy. If you are shy or introverted, the scenery doubles as a perfect conversation starter.
What an Escape!
It gives me time to get away from all the distractions, COUGHcellphone.tablet.computer.COUGH, and have some quiet thinking time. Some people meditate while they walk, I find it to be the perfect time to pray, think through problems, and consider the bigger picture of my life.
Meet some people.
Growing up homeschooled, I wasn’t thrown into a classroom full of friend material every year. I needed to go out and find friends for myself through volunteering, participating in community events, and (most successfully) walking. I cannot even begin to tell you how many awesome people I have met on my jaunts through the neighborhood. Just a sampler:
I met a veteran who tried to convince me to join the air force. He also had lots of stories about his son who moved to a forgotten island of Hawaii (formerly reserved for lepers) to start a successful electricity company.
I met a 97 year old former baseball player. We’d sit around on rusty lawn chairs and watch the world drive by. He could never remember my name, no matter how many times he sung the song,
but boy did he have good stories.
I met a doctor who also took a gap year between high school and college and had lots of advice to give and empathy to comfort me with.
So you see, if you want to make friends, just get out of the house and walk!
Adventure is out there (for free).
When my big sister and I went to Boston, we came prepared with tickets to all of Boston’s greatest attractions. (I won a citypass through a writing contest). And yet we had so much fun exploring Boston and Cambridge’s neighborhoods by foot, that we didn’t end up using any of our tickets and were able to leave them with our host as a thank you gift. Boston, Charlotte, New York, Mint Hill, and every other city and town I’ve visited, offer wonderful free experiences to those willing to just get around town, talk to people, and explore. If you are willing to walk, and have built up a capacity to walk for LONG periods of time, you can explore anywhere for all of zero dollars!
So there you have it. Walking is heaven. I’m out of here…