To say that walking is good for you is sort of like saying breathing and eating are good for you. It’s so obvious I wonder why I still often find myself encouraging and defending the need for our bodies to walk.
Recently, I’ve been mulling over (on my walks) the benefits to my life walking has – on top of the benefit to my body. The more I think about it, the more I want to have conversations about how much I hope you’ll walk more – for these less obvious reasons.
My son and I often walk home from his school together. It’s a lovely 40 minute walk that provides a chance for us to catch up and switch gears from work and school to home. The moving pause in our day allows us to be together in my favorite way. It’s a mental break, a moving break, and a chance for us to connect. So many times he has put his hand in mine, his arm around mine, offered to carry my bag. All these gestures touch me emotionally, and I believe that walking together has laid the foundation for this good connection.
We have also created a connection to our city and communities that we wouldn’t have otherwise. We walk through the dog park in the morning to say hello, past the Grandma that waits with the most heartfelt smile to welcome her special needs Grandchild every day from the bus, and are able to help an elder getting out of the car, or up the front step of their house. We had to insert ourselves into a rough situation one day with two men speaking abusively to a woman. I felt threatened, she felt threatened, and my son got to witness the way people can behave so so badly. You can imagine we had a good conversation on the way home around being a feminist and being respectful all day every day – whether you are a man or a woman. This life line to my city feels SO SO important and keeps us from feeling lonely, isolated, and disconnected – even when we witness the hard things.
Lastly, on today’s list of why walking is THE BEST, is nature. Is this the most obvious? I notice a real nature deficit, and a lack of beauty seep into my bones as soon as I miss a day with a good walk (or two or three). I notice it as a lack of calm, and increasing inner agitation. Seeing the natural world and realizing my place in it restores many good things in my life.
Here is a picture from yesterday’s walk. We walked the circle of the Beltline, from the Brickworks, to the Cemetery, and back through the ravine to the Beltline. We said hello to many fellow Torontonians, visited the grave of a schoolmate’s mom, and climbed and slid and looked. We held hands, laughed a lot, complained a bit, all the while doing the natural thing – walking.