Walking is wonderful, isn’t it? You step out into the crisp morning air, breathe in the freshness and get some mild exercise. Emphasis on the mild, but it exists nonetheless. The past couple of weeks have humbled me, in the sense that my wife’s absence with our family vehicle during basement renovations have meant that I’ve had to walk everywhere. For everything. It’s humbling because I’ve come to appreciate just how convenient having a vehicle really is. It also gives me a new appreciation for the folks who can’t afford a vehicle and ALWAYS have to walk or take public transit.
This period has seen me walking a minimum of three to four kilometres for simple things such as checking my lottery ticket at the local corner store, picking up my much-needed energy drinks and even picking up two duffel bags of groceries to shore us up until my wife got back. Not least of which is the fact that these items had to be hauled back by hand. With a bus route that only passes every 50 minutes and it being an 18 to 20 minute walk for any of the locations I require, it’s obviously more time-smart to walk.
But with a light freezing rain falling on the day I had to go do groceries, and my corner store being closed for cleaning on the day I walked to check my lotto (thanks, 7-11!), it also gave me a reminder of the good old days when I was younger and HAD to walk or bike everywhere i wanted to go. Walking gets a pretty indifferent reaction from the world in general and there always seem to be two camps: those who are indifferent towards walking, and those who believe it’s incredibly good for personal fitness.
Walking is often ignored and considered a pointless exercise, and with good reason. Since running, weight-lifting and any other extreme workouts require deeper, physical exertion in order to be completed, people tend to assume walking is not as effective a form of working out. We can be honest in the fact that walking can’t be placed in the same category as say, an hour of HIIT training. But there are still a number of benefits associated with walking regularly.
According to an online article posted by HealthLine.com, walking on a regular basis has a number of health benefits, which includes burning calories, lowering blood sugar, easing joint pain and boosting energy levels. On the mental front, walking can help improve your mood and encourage creative thinking. In fact, the Mayo Clinic writes that 30 minutes of brisk walking can add a burn of about 150 calories, with that total calories increasing, the faster and longer you walk. They also warn that if you’re walking solely for the purposes of weight-loss, a healthy diet needs to be incorporated, as well.
During my last eye injection when I took the bus to Saskatoon, I wound up walking almost 15 kilometres throughout the course of the day (For The Longest Time…🎶), and it was a significant calorie burn. And did my legs end up feeling as though Sensei had just delivered a dozen roundhouse kicks to my thighs? Hell no, because nothing hurts quite as bad as that, but it provided a decent burn over the course of that whole day.
The nice thing about walking is that it’s reasonably low-impact, so if you have knee or joint pain or suffer from obesity and are looking to start burning calories and losing weight, walking can be done for longer periods of time than traditional forms of cardio. Although walking may not be a “better” workout, it’s an effective one. And it can be a good addition to your weekly total workouts by providing a low-impact, relaxing alternative to just sitting on the couch on your rest days. So toss those earbuds in, lace up your sneakers and if you have Diabetes, plan ahead for lows and hit the streets. Your body and mind will thank you. ☯