The Joys of Walking

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.

Building along Franklin Street in Kitchener, Ontario.
Curious building along Franklin Street in Kitchener, Ontario.

Extensive research backs up my feelings towards walking – there are many astonishing physical and mental health benefits to walking every day:

  1. It deflects diabetes (see Zerbe, 2013).
  2. It strengthens your heart (see Tesco 2013).
  3. It can help prevent dementia (see Tesco 2013).
  4. It can be as effective as antidepressants for treating depression (see Tesco 2013).
  5. 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!

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