|A young walker in the Duchy.|
A Stanford study earlier this year found that walking boosts creativity. This is a real-time effect, and it lasts during the time you’re walking and for a short while thereafter. It gives legs to the idea that we get our best ideas while walking.
This will come as no surprise to people who walk regularly. I have no idea how it motivates the circuitry of one’s brain (any more than I understand how it massages the gut or how it strengthens back muscles) but as a lifelong walker, I’m convinced it works. It certainly reduces anxiety. I’m finding myself walking upwards of six miles a day this month, and it’s done much to assuage my grief and worry over the upheavals in my personal life.
|Walking every day has the perverse effect of making me like winter more, although I'm not always keen on the way sidewalks are maintained here in Rochester.|
Although I’ve been a dedicated walker/runner/hiker my whole adult life, about five years ago my doctor started making noises at me about cholesterol and high blood pressure. I realized that I needed to ramp up the pace. Now it’s the first thing I do every day, and I’m willing to spend at least two hours a day exercising.
The biggest objection people make to walking is, “I don’t have the time.” On the other hand, the average American watches five hours of television a day.
I’m self-employed, so I can set my own schedule. I walk my husband to work every morning. Most married couples have very little time to talk to each other; we are guaranteed the better part of an hour together. (Since the average car in the US costs more than $9000 a year to own and operate, we save a lot of money, too.)
Later in the morning, I walk with a small posse. Who shows up varies by the day, but we’re all self-employed or telecommuters.
|Walking is gentle on the environment. This is the annual salt collection at the side of our street after the snow melts. It's a miracle anything grows here.|
It’s paid off: I’m apparently the only middle-aged American who isn’t taking some kind of prescription drug. Nearly 70 percent of Americans of all ages are on at least one medication, and more than half take two or more. Among women in my age cohort, a stunning one in four are taking antidepressants.
Walking is cheap. It makes you creative, it makes you happy, it gives you great gams, and it mitigates many diseases of aging like diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Why doesn’t everyone do it?
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