One of our first major accomplishments in life is learning how to walk. That moment when you are crawling on all fours, then finally decide to propel yourself upwards on wobbling knees — knees that still haven’t adjusted to the weight of your body. As you try to gain your balance, or as much balance as a baby could have, you take one staggered step with your right foot, then your left, then your right, and before you know it, you are walking! Or at least, staggering around the place.
Nowadays, I feel like many of us have forgotten the beauty of walking, myself included. I can barely find the strength or desire to walk all the way from Vedder to the Observatory for 9am class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Can you blame me though? But, in all honesty, what’s a ten minute walk? We have become so dependent on other means of transportation, like cars, shuttle buses, taxis, and so on, that it has trapped us in a lazy, inactive mindset. So, my proposal to change the world is to go take a walk… on the wild side?
According to the Mayo Clinic, walking is such a simple actvity, yet has so many underlying health benefits. Obesity has become a defining characteristic of America among youth and adults, and I think that it has a lot to do with the lazy mindset I was talking about. If we stressed the health benefits of something as simple as walking, it would be a great start to changing our mindsets. Walking is a great way to lower “bad” cholesterol, while raising your “good” cholesterol. It is also beneficial for lowering blood pressure, maintaining your weight, and even improving your mood! Additionally, walking is a low-impact type of workout, so you don’t have to worry about exacerbating your joints and muscles.
And there’s even more benefits! The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit company that works to create hiking trails from former rail lines, has found that if Americans decided to walk (or bike) 13% of their trips that were 3 miles or less, we could remove around 9 million tons of carbon dioxide from America’s air each year. (Think of how much more flatulence cows can release!) Therefore, not only would walking improve our personal lives, but it can potentially improve the quality of living for future generations to come. So get out of your car, and walk this way!