Better Human Series #4 – How walking can change your life

The other day I was talking to a friend about how people who smoke have more frequent opportunities to think. They stop whatever they are doing and go outside to smoke, and those breaks allow them to be alone with their own thoughts. Non-smokers such as myself don’t have that.

What I do have, is walking.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post of this series, I’ve been walking to and from work for about 9 months now, so I have been experiencing some improvements in my health, and particularly in my overall mental well-being, that I attribute to walking and that I would like to share with you. It takes me about 25 minutes to walk to work, which translates into almost an hour walking to and from work every single day. And although 25 minutes doesn’t seem that much to me, in my experience people generally find it surprising that I choose to walk that much, because apparently if it takes more than 10-15 minutes and if it’s not jogging, it’s weird that I don’t drive or take public transportation.

Of course, I am not saying everyone can do this. I am fortunate to live relatively close to my workplace. But still, I want to encourage you to walk as much as you can, as you go about your day. Like most people working a corporate job, I don’t move my body nearly enough to what we, humans, should. I also quite dislike gyms and intense 10 min workouts, or running. I only enjoy (and stick) to exercise when it’s disguised as something else – such as dancing or practicing some kind of team sport. And I don’t know if walking can be considered exercise, but I do know that it gets my heart pumping, my muscles working, and inevitably burns some fat, so I believe it may qualify as such.

But for me, the most life-changing aspect of this new habit relates to what I was talking to my friend regarding smoking. Ironically, when I am walking I am pausing, taking a break from the daily hustle. While walking I often notice the simplest pleasures, the rain, the colour of daylight, if there are clouds in the sky, the silence or the steps of others around me. And then, other times, the opposite: I get totally lost inside my own mind and I find the most incredible silence, even when there is noise around me. Time changes. It slows down. I have time to think without pressure, my mind gets ideas, creativity flows, and I don’t even realise I’ve walked for 25 minutes until I get to my destination. It brings me great joy to put one foot in front of the other, one at a time, without rushing, without being distracted by technology, just breathing, observing the world around me, giving space to my mind, allowing it to wonder. In a way, meditating.

“The walk and the silence are interconnected. The silence is as abstract as the walking is concrete ” – in Walking: one step at a time, by Erling Kagge

In the past 9 months, my endurance has improved and I feel stronger. I avoided traffic, or hopelessly waiting for the bus to arrive. I saved money. I now depend on no one but myself to get to work on time. But most of all, I found that walking clears my head, and being able to do so has taught me a lot about myself.

Seriously, if you can, just go for it. You won’t want to go back.

Raquel Q.

Photo by Arturo Castaneyra on Unsplash

15 thoughts on “Better Human Series #4 – How walking can change your life

    1. Omg I always reference that movie when I want to explain how I fear the future will be 😋… but I’m glad some people are on board with me and still walk instead of floating around in some type of vehicle even to travel short distances 😁 keep it up Dwight, and thanks for sharing !

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I do the exact same! Just under a half hour walk to work and then back each day, and it helps with everything physical and mental. I love seeing the moods of the sky, my brain solves all sorts of things with no effort, and I sleep well. People say I have “discipline” to do it and I laugh -it’s so much easier than dealing with traffic, keeping gas in a car, finding a parking spot, etc etc. There is no direct bus route to my work, so I’d have to transfer and it would take about an hour … Instead, this way I always arrive on time, in a good mood 🙂 I have a few colleagues who will do walking meetings too, as long as the weather’s nice.

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    1. I know, people are so surprised by this simple routine, right? Traffic and finding a parking spot are the worst… I guess walking is less comfortable than driving in your car, but comfort is not always a good thing! I’m so happy for you 😁 keep it up!

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  2. I do the same but in a different way. I run everyday from Mon-Friday for 30mins early morning at 5 a.m then bath and go to work and my body muscles are firm, my energy is up thereon the sky and I tend to think I am the only sane and emotionally stable human on the planet.lol…Thanks for your article.

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    1. That’s great! When I do exercise in the morning it really boosts my energy levels throughout the day, so I imagine it feels great to keep that habit going! Keep up the good work and thank you for your comment 💙😁

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  3. I was walking like 9-14 miles a day. That is until I had a stroke a few days ago. But after a brief siesta of sorts I’m back to 4 or so miles a day and increasing it a bit each day.

    Are you crazy? You say?

    Well I ‘m 78+ but look closer to 60 as everyone plus doctors do always say.
    So! Being an A-fib type what else can I do or say except walk until I finally drop away!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, I love your attitude! Just because you can’t go back right away to the distance you usually do, you are not letting it stop you from gradually going back to your walking routine 😊 I wish you a quick recovery and all the best! Thank you very much for leaving a comment, I love hearing about inspiring people such as yourself !

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  4. Any movement is a good movement. Unlike you, I am a gym person but I walk whenever I can. I simple hate static cardio like the treadmill!
    Walking somehow makes me feel free. There is this feeling of openness if you know what I mean. So to me it is not about burning calories when it comes to walking although it does and it is a very good cardio and a fat burner. It is more about these small pleasures you mentioned.
    Thank you for this post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I do understand what you mean by openness and feeling free while walking, I’m happy to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way. Thank you so much for leaving a comment ! 💙

      Liked by 1 person

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