Is Walking the Most Underrated Activity?
Author: Lauren Hunsberger | Posted In: Move | December 2020
I have always craved a bit of adrenaline with my workouts—from downhill skiing to endurance running to lifting heavy weights, my mentality was the harder the better. But, when it comes to longevity and long-term health, slowing down might be better the option.
Walking is different from hiking steep mountain terrain. It’s different from running or sprinting on a tennis court. In all its mildness, it is its own activity with unique physiological responses, and should be treated and revered accordingly.
In fact, some wellness experts claim it is the best form of exercise for your joints, heart health, stress levels and more. This year, with gyms and studios restricted, it might be the best time to lace up your walking shoes and gently hit your local pavement.
Benefits of Taking a Stroll
Boost Overall health – Walking won’t torch quite as many calories as running, but the overall effects are nothing short of incredible. From lowering blood pressure to regulating metabolism to boosting serotonin, many benefits are achieved when you take your time—minus any strain or overuse issues.
Learn something – It is hard to fully digest educational material when you are running sprints or downhill skiing, and truthfully, you shouldn’t try. Walking, on the other hand, actually perfectly primes your brain for learning. It is a great time to listen to that book on neurology you’ve had in the queue.
Get to know your neighborhood – We are all living within a small radius right now, but that doesn’t mean walking it has to be boring. Challenge yourself to take a different route when you can and you will surely discover new nooks and crannies. Try logging in to AllTrails for a list of lesser known trails, stairs, corridors and greenways in your area.
Get Creative – Many creative thinkers have espoused the benefits of walking on creativity, including Steve Jobs, Henry David Thoreau, Mark Zuckerberg and Albert Einstein. And the medical field agrees. There are plenty of studies confirming the idea that walking gets the brain working far better than sitting.
Have a meaningful conversation – If you don a mask, walking outside is a great way to catch up with a friend. It’s not a whole lot more complicated than that.
Cultural History of Walking
Throughout history, walking has been a spiritual and cultural practice. Here are just a few examples:
Pilgrimage: A journey that’s often dedicated to a religious purpose or destination.
Walkabout: A playful Australian concept that signifies a vagabond-like adventure done for fun and self-discovery.
Hajj: A type of pilgrimage, this is the official name for the walk to Mecca.