I walk. For restoration, exercise, exploration, and mental health.
I used to be 40-50 pounds heavier. Until I started walking. I was inspired by the Clif Bar 2-mile challenge in the late 2000s, which encouraged people to bicycle, instead of driving, for trips near home under 2 miles. I started walking instead.
My daily goal is 8,000 steps. Roughly 3 miles. Not much. To contrast, the Colorado Trail has 33 segments over 486 miles, averaging 14 miles per segment. (In reality, there are a few segments that are too long to be done in one day, and others that are quite short)
Averaging that consistently is difficult when you account for weather, children, a relationship, busyness, and the general walkability of wherever I happen to live.
At the bottom of my current walking history are inspirational links. Please walk. I’m convinced that of all the secular, non-medical things you can do to improve your own mental and physical health, walking and sleep are the most important.
5,678 steps/day: Insufficient. Had one good day of 12 miles, but the rest of the month has been non-intentional. Goal for February is to get back to 8,000 steps.
6,810 steps/day. A disastrous walking year. Mid-February to Mid-June was in Colorado, and most of the rest of the year in Costa Rica. Despite good weather in both, I let circumstances in my life dictate my wellness, rather than me dictating it. March was a recovery month, and December was a terrible month for many reasons. Along with other factors, not walking in December led to a terrible start for 2020.
10,053 steps/day. I had a longer train commute to work in London, and less of a walking portion. However, I mostly contribute this to me moving to Chingford in North London where everything was closer to my flat than the prior year. Plus, I had better mastered the tubes and buses. I spent most of October and November in Colorado, which was not a good time for me.
11,989 steps/day. First year of living in London. Walked everywhere. Was great. Except the smog which probably counter-acted some of the health benefits of walking.
- America Walks Learning Center
- Walk Score’s Top 10 Health Benefits of Walking
- Walking, by Henry David Thoreau (The Atlantic: June 1862)
- Walking: Your steps to health: Exciting benefits of walking for heart health, including lower risk of heart attack and stroke (Harvard Medical School)
- ‘Would that all journeys were on foot’: writers on the joy of walking (The Guardian: Sept 2018)
Quotes on Walking
“I never do anything, but when walking, the countryside is my study.”Jean-Jacques Rousseau
“Only thoughts reached by walking have value.”Friedrich Nietzsche
“As I walk, I am always reminded of the slow, patient building of soil in the woods. And I am reminded of the events and companions of my life — for my walks, after so long, are cultural events.”Wendell Berry
“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”Paul Dudley White