We all took our first steps as a baby at some stage. If you’ve forgotten the habit of walking I recommend rediscovering your fire for it.
The classic modern man nowadays is a dismal site to behold. He has a 45 minute commute to work and then sits at his desk for 8 hours only to go home to sit on the sofa for another 6. The only walking he does is if he goes to the fridge for a donut (Homer Simpson) or to the toilet. Although we have come a long way with advances in technology and in medicine, one thing that progress hasn’t been kind to for many is exercise.
Everyone needs to get off their butt and just walk at least once a day. If it’s not part of your daily life, you should start making it a part immediately.
I try to walk at least 30 minutes bare minimum every day, up to an hour is more ideal though. The great thing about walking is that everyone can do it, it doesn’t matter what fitness level you are at. It requires no equipment and you can start at any time with no membership required. It can be a great starting point for someone looking to start improving their fitness from scratch or if you were laid off with illness or injury. If you’re already running marathons then great, don’t stop!
The benefits of walking
Walking every day can alleviate joint pain by bringing fluid in for lubrication, especially if you have been sitting at a desk all day. If you are already into your fitness, walking help with recovery from lifting weights and improve your work capacity for future workouts. Walking can also help with with mental issues like mild depression and insomnia.
A 70kg person walking at 3.5mph (brisk pace) can burn 200 calories in an hour, that’s 1400 calories a week. Many exercises increase a persons hunger after they finish. This can cause them to eat more which can defeat the purpose if you want to lose weight. With walking I and many others find that this does not happen as much.
When you walk you don’t just have to walk, you can double the benefit to educate yourself with a podcast as you do it as well. My favourite has to be the philosophy podcast Freedomainradio hosted by Stefan Molyneux. I have gained more listening to this podcast than I gained with 14 years of public school. The vast array of life advice and knowledge I have gained from listening to this podcast while walking is unprecedented.
If you do choose to listen to anything educational such as history or entrepreneurship, you will not be wasting your time. Watching long videos on youtube can become tedious at times, but if you listen to something while walking it helps to stimulate your mind and stay focused. If you download a good app like Podcast Addict you can increase the speed too which helps a lot when you want to get through a lot of information in a short amount of time.
You can also choose to not listen to anything and just pay attention to your surroundings or try to zone out. Even if you’re walking near traffic, cars can have a strangely meditative sound, sometimes.
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference”- Robert Frost
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Great life advice from two amazing minds, but you can also take these quotes literally as well.
What are you waiting for?
Go on your own mini adventures and explore the local wildlife. When you come back an hour later you will be a different person than when you started. You will find peace while walking that you may not find while stuck in your house. Listen to the life around you and fine tune your hearing to the gentle sounds of nature. You will be astonished what you can hear that you wouldn’t have before. Going alone definitely has its benefits, you learn to enjoy your own company and the will of your body to traverse the land before you.
Go as a group of friends or family and you can form your own walking team. You will share stories and ideas that you would have never talked about had you of just stayed in the coffee shop.
Hiking is another step up and if you keep progressing you can add weights to a backpack and get an insane workout for your muscles and your aerobic fitness.
You don’t have to go on walking expeditions if you don’t have the time, merely parking further away from work and walking the rest of the distance will do wonders for your mind and body.
Starting is half the battle
If you’re thinking that this is insignificant then you are wrong. There are many stories of people going for a walk to ponder a huge life decision only to come back with their mind clearly made up. This is not a coincidence.
Starting to go on walks can be the first step you take (literally but not so literally) to improving your life. Walking every day helps me focus and find structure for tasks I have left for the day. It also gives me time to myself to plan life goals for the next week to even the next years.
Make regular walking a part of your life. I implore everyone to start.