Walking is one of my most favorite activities. Born and raised in a “walking family,” I grew up learning to keep up with my dad’s pace and mentally preparing myself for long journeys wherever we went, yet it was not until I was a senior in high school when I gained my own appreciation for the sport. My love blossomed when I decided to wear a pedometer for my senior project. My goal was to walk 10,000 steps (about 5 miles) every day for 3 weeks while I raised money for an Obesity organization. After my second week, I felt a tremendous difference in my mood and body. I felt I had a stronger mind-body connection since I was moving more and getting the blood flowing. I paid attention to what I ate and how I felt on my walks. I also noticed I was just happier! No wonder a study at the California University in Long Beach found that the phenomenon of walking helps people to “ be happier, have higher self-esteem, be more into your diet.” I carried my enthusiasm for walking to the University of Michigan where I walked from North Campus to Central Campus most days (weather permitting). People began to know me as “the walker.” I realized that wherever I went, it would probable take me 15 minutes longer to walk than to rely on bus transportation—so why not get some mental and physical exercise in, while spending time outside and saving money!? I now incorporate walking into my daily routine as my staple form of transportation. Not only do I get time to think, but I feel more connected to myself and the world around me. I aim to inspire other’s to get moving and realize walking is a lot easier and more enjoyable than jumping into a car. My boyfriend and I also created a routine to take evening walks as a way to help with digestion, enjoy each other’s company and reflect on the day. I have even noticed that night walks have improved my sleeping patterns!
Suggestions: Get walking! Learn to get those steps in wherever you can. Try walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator; challenge yourself to take walks during your breaks throughout the day, add nighttime walk-caps or swap happy hour for a walk in the park with a friend. Get moving and you will feel the mental and physical difference after just one week!