Walking is something the vast majority of us are able to do but how many of us either choose not to or actively avoid one of the most basic of human functions………walking!!! We’re too busy or don’t have time, we think because we’re on our feet all day that we don’t need to, it’s easier to take the car or we’re just too lazy to start walking for health.
Whilst I’ve always been able to walk it I was never a big advocate of walking for health or walking just because I could. I remember a conversation I had with one of my sisters years ago and she turned and said to me “You make me laugh, you’ll run for miles but you won’t walk anywhere”. I remember this conversation because she touched a nerve, she was right. I’d spend hours at the gym or running and I’d take my dogs for a walk because they needed the exercise but that was as far as it went.
It wasn’t until I got older that I started to realise what a massive privilege being able to walk is and, knowing a number of people who can no longer walk, it does concern me how many people take walking for granted. I suppose I really woke up when I kept running through injury and, when I limped over the line at the end of my second marathon, thought I’d never walk properly again. It was a really sobering thought and one that didn’t bear thinking about.
Imagine, just for a moment, if this time next year you were told you’d never be able to walk again. How do you think you’d feel? Walking gives us our independence and it gives us a certain amount of freedom, we see things on foot that we would never see from any kind of vehicle.
Walking outside is also really good for our physical and mental health. It increases the function of our heart and lungs, it helps strengthen our bones and muscles and increases our exposure to natural sunlight helping the body produce vitamin D. A nice leisurely walk alone or with friends can lower our stress levels and conveys benefits on many different levels.
In addition to my regular training schedule I take time out to walk on a daily basis even if it means getting up 30 minutes earlier than normal to fit it in. Next time you think about avoiding a walk think about how you’d feel if you lost the ability to do it.
My paternal grandmother lived to the ripe old age of 101 and she did one form of exercise to keep her healthy. It was walking.
Your health is your wealth.