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  • Writer's pictureJackie

5 Reasons to Walk More

Especially If You’re Sequestered at Home

With just about everything shuttered right now and cars relegated to driveways much of the time, one activity remains open to most of us: walking. Maybe you’ve noticed this in your own neighborhood as people leave the walls of home for some fresh air and treks that are longer than the ones to the fridge. In a strange time of stay-at-home regulations, starting a regular walking habit could prove to be an unexpected and hugely beneficial opportunity. With newfound time, flexibility, and fewer other options, there are lots of good reasons to take up walking. Here are five great ones:

1. Our bodies are designed to walk. Obviously, we evolved to travel on two feet on land. Yes, it's also super fun to move via other modes like bikes, skates, or swimming, but because our frames are made to walk, we typically experience less injuries and discomfort from doing it repetitively. In addition, walking is weight bearing, which is essential to maintaining bone density in all ages, especially if we’re sedentary or prone to osteopenia.

2. Walking bestows the same benefits as other cardio exercise. If you do it briskly, meaning you maintain a moderate pace at which you can still speak but are huffing and puffing a bit, then you reap the many, many positive side effects of aerobic exercise. These include lower blood pressure and blood sugar, lower blood lipids, less risk of disease, potentially improved cognitive function, steadier bodyweight, and elevated mood, to name a just a few.

3. Walking can be done anywhere and all you need are shoes. It’s the most straightforward workout a person can do: Tie shoes, open door, get going. Just about every locale is walkable, though right now, neighborhoods and quiet hiking trails are obviously the best way to go. However, even the yard can provide a place to do laps. And if you like walking workout videos, many a step can be accrued in a living room, on a patio, or in the basement.

4. Walking can clear our minds. It literally gives us distance from home, work, computers, meals to cook, and everything else. If your home is filled with family, it provides rare opportunities for solitude. Like any cardio exercise, its rhythmic, repetitive nature also imbues a meditative sense that can be extremely calming.

5. Walking can also be social. On the flip side, at a time when we may rarely see people in person beyond our homes, walking expands the world a little. Humans evolved to live in community, which is one of the reasons quarantines are so difficult. Taking a walk means most likely calling out to neighbors, greeting fellow walkers, and maybe even chugging alongside a friend. (Even at six feet apart, conversation can flow.)

So, as spring unfolds, it might just be the perfect time to break the occasional claustrophobia of home and take a walk. You’ll reap only benefits.


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