I just checked the GPS on my phone and it’s official. I walked 4 miles to school every day my Junior and Senior year in High School one way. 23 minutes with a brisk walk? Rain, snow or sunny outside in the Mid-West.
No, I didn’t have a car.
I didn’t have a ride.
But I did look cool walking to school those last 2 years (call it confidence, see one of my previous posts).
I did the best I could with a small budget.
I remember having family living across the street from where I lived in a rented home as a teenager that could give me a ride, but didn’t. It was an inconvenience for them (insert crying here).
With the typical creepy landlord making passes at my biological mother plus always lingering around and a guy named “Art” living in the upstairs apartment it couldn’t get worse, right?
No, a guy was previously murdered in the same home years before we moved in and parts of his body were left in the freezer section of the refrigerator. I will leave it to your imagination what part, but I never took out a popsicle while I lived there and didn’t think about it. To my knowledge the rental had the original refrigerator in the unit. This is a small community, so murders did not happen.
No, it’s not a town where people didn’t lock their doors. Please lock your doors! I never like hearing that phrase, but you constantly hear it in the news after something happens.
It was also a home built in the 1950s. To get to the only bathroom in the duplex apartment you had to go through my bedroom. The only shower was in the BASEMENT in a shared communal area with “Art” with the washer and dryer. I think we may have had signs on the doorknob when “in use”, but I do not remember. Laughing about it now considering how weird it sounds. I had a roof over my head, I guess.
Not afraid of dark basements to this day even after watching the movie The Nun 2 last night.
Remember I didn’t have a car, so I also walked to work after school. A retail job which was also about 4 miles away too. Just checked the GPS on that too. I did a lot of walking and still do to this day. I remember while walking to work two girls (a blonde and a brunet) in a convertible driving by and the music playing loud. I wanted to be in that car with them (before I met my wife)!
And yes, they looked back.
To this day it is a reminder of where I came from and the point I am in my life now. I am successful and a lot of that had to do with walking. Not only great for my health, but a time to meditate and look at nature. Appreciation of what I came from and what I have today.
It also, helped with my work ethic in life and the person I am now. I recently walked 13 miles home after my son’s team didn’t do well in a game in the cold and snow.
I like to win. That’s a post for another day.
Walking is a simple and accessible form of exercise that offers numerous physical, mental, and overall health benefits. Here are some of the benefits of walking:
- Cardiovascular Health: Regular walking can improve your cardiovascular fitness, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help lower blood pressure. It can also increase good cholesterol (HDL) levels and decrease bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.
- Weight Management: Walking, especially when combined with a healthy diet, can help with weight management and weight loss. It burns calories, and a brisk walk can boost your metabolism.
- Improved Muscle Tone: Walking engages various muscle groups, including the legs, core, and even upper body if you swing your arms. This can lead to improved muscle tone and increased strength.
- Joint Health: Walking is a low-impact exercise, making it easier on the joints compared to high-impact activities like running. It can help improve joint flexibility and reduce the risk of osteoarthritis.
- Mental Well-Being: Walking has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. It can also enhance mood and boost self-esteem by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators.
- Stress Reduction: A brisk walk can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. It can be a great way to clear your mind and relieve mental tension.
- Better Sleep: Regular exercise, including walking, can lead to better sleep patterns. It can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy more restful sleep.
- Improved Cognitive Function: Walking has cognitive benefits, such as enhancing memory, concentration, and creativity. It’s a great opportunity for introspection and problem-solving.
- Social Interaction: Walking can be a social activity when done with friends or in groups. Social interactions while walking can contribute to improved mental well-being.
- Increased Energy: Contrary to the belief that exercise depletes energy, regular walking can actually boost your energy levels by increasing oxygen flow and circulation.
- Immune System Support: Regular moderate exercise, like walking, can enhance the immune system’s ability to fight off illness and infections.
- Longevity: Several studies have shown that regular walking is associated with a longer lifespan. It can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, which can contribute to a longer, healthier life.
- Accessibility: Walking doesn’t require any special equipment or a gym membership. It’s something most people can do, regardless of age or fitness level.
- Environmental Benefits: Choosing to walk instead of drive for short trips can reduce your carbon footprint and have a positive impact on the environment.
To reap these benefits, it’s generally recommended to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, which can be achieved through brisk walking. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise regimen, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.