Here in Part 2, we'll cover Freddie's Top 7 Benefits of getting around on our own two feet. (Please see Part 1 and its Comments section for all my caveats/disclaimers/qualifiers on this topic!)
OK? Allons-y! Vámonos! Let's go!
1) Walking recalibrates our wonky sense of distance.
Terry Fox / Sébastien Sasseville - style transcontinental foot race to (re)discover what a kilometer or a mile really feels like, self-propelling over any distance that's normally covered by car or bus is surely a good thing to do. Why? Well, in addition to allowing for benefits #2 through #7, I think/hope it helps us remember just how much energy/resources those snappy, distance-shrinking trips by motorized means require. Not a bad thing to remember!
I hear blog posts with kitties are more likely to go viral. ;-)
3) Walking inspires thinking.
And sometimes when I'm walking, I think of something worthwhile: a scene for my novel, a teaching idea for the upcoming semester ... or the fact that a certain café reminds me a little of the Latin Quarter, and wouldn't it be fun to do a fantasy blog post from Paris .... or an imaginary island off the North African coast?
4) Walking is an exceptional form of exercise (and blood sugar control).
Those familiar with "Primal Blueprint" guy Mark Sisson's ideas about exercise will have come across his (and others') notion that lots of slow-paced movement (not necessarily walking) is the foundation of a healthy exercise program and should take precedence over what he calls "chronic cardio." This idea makes sense to me. Sisson has his own list of the benefits of walking, here. His benefit #3 is geared toward those of the diabetic persuasion and is something I've experienced first-hand ...
What do I do about a stubborn high blood sugar that isn't responding well to insulin? I walk. Running and other high-intensity exercises don't work: too many fight/flight hormones that actually raise blood sugar. Nope, walking is the thing. I did it in the middle of writing this post — brought an ugly 14.6 mmol/L down to 7.2 in about 30 minutes. With the help of an insulin shot, of course. Walking doesn't replace insulin; it helps it to do its job.
5) Walking strengthens relationships.
Although I'm not a Catholic, I think there's also something to be said for the confessional-style setup of the typical two-party walk. Some things are just easier to share outside the intensity of the face-to-face gaze.
6) Walking helps manage stress.
Walking With Freddie practices responsible pick-up!
Those kids who always get driven to school (especially the ones who live within walking distance)? They'd feel and be safer if more kids, and parents, and other friendly adults, and dogs were also out and about on the sidewalks. At the risk of sounding like Fred Rogers (a very groovy guy, IMO), knowing your neighbours, feeling you're part of a community, is a great thing. And how the heck do neighbours meet each other in a casual, neighbourly way if they're always cooped inside their house/apartment or their car?
Granted, immediate neighbours can get to know each other without travelling far. But if lots of people make a point of cruising their nearby walkways on foot (or, for that matter, on/in mechanical mobility aids), then the circles of acquaintance expand and overlap ... and then we start to get into the urban planning issue of "walkable neighbourhoods" — a wonderful ideal ... but I bet that most less-than-ideal physical settings could be improved by a critical mass of pedestrians (re)claiming their outdoor space!
And, if elected, Freddie and I will ... ;-)
That's it for this post!
Now, get out there and claim your space!