While dog, cat, and house sitting this weekend, I took the time to go out for a really long and meditative walk. Walking has always been one of my greatest pleasures and most enjoyable pastimes. All it requires is that I put on sturdy walking shoes, season-appropriate clothing, and a thoughtful mindset. In return, I receive fresh air, a positive mental attitude, toned leg muscles, and the ability to go anywhere.
I also enjoy getting closer to the landscapes which blur by outside the window of a moving vehicle. Today I saw a heritage building under construction along a part of Courtland street that I’d never noticed before; I stopped to marvel at the curvature and unique architecture of a building along Franklin street; and I peered into the windows of a derelict industrial building along Shanley street. I return from these walks refreshed and with many exciting stories to share.
Extensive research backs up my feelings towards walking – there are many astonishing physical and mental health benefits to walking every day:
- It deflects diabetes (see Zerbe, 2013).
- It strengthens your heart (see Tesco 2013).
- It can help prevent dementia (see Tesco 2013).
- It can be as effective as antidepressants for treating depression (see Tesco 2013).
- It can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle (see Mayo Clinic 2013).
Even when compared to more intense forms of exercise, like running, walking offers significant health benefits (Barker, 2013). Most importantly, walking is a valid form of exercise and proves that fitness and health doesn’t have to be expensive or logistically challenging. Plus, walking fits easily into anyone’s schedule and is a fun activity to do with friends!