When I tell people how much I love walking, I usually get a weird look in response.
It’s the Jan Brady of the fitness world, lacking the romantic appeal of running, the cult status of yoga and the street cred of CrossFit. It’s often (unfairly) dismissed as an ‘older person’ activity, lumped in alongside lawn bowls and aqua aerobics.
But if you ask me, walking is seriously underrated. I will rant passionately about the head-clearing, heart-pumping, emotionally restorative powers of a good walk to anybody who will listen.
And since you’re already here reading this article… here are 17 points to consider:
1. It’s free.
Unless you want to get fancy about it, walking doesn’t have to cost you a cent. It’s FREE, you guys. In a world where people are paying upwards of $20 for a single exercise class, this is a rarity.
2. You can wear anything.
Here's what you need to go for a walk: good, comfortable walking shoes, clothing of some description, socks and sunnies (canine companion: optional). Maybe your fitness tracker if you're into that. That's just about it. Of course, if you love fun sportswear go ahead and buy patterned neon leggings and crop tops, but those old cotton shorts and frayed band Tshirt from '99 hiding in the back of your cupboard will do the job equally well.
3. You can do it anywhere.
Really, anywhere. And at any time.
4. It's an adventure.
Not only does walking keep you active, it gives you a great chance to explore your city/town/region. Bridges, national parks, mountains and beaches are particularly enjoyable spots for a walk - and picturesque, too.
Here are some beautiful tracks for inspiration:
5. No skill required.
Almost anyone can take up walking, regardless of age or sporting ability - it doesn't require particularly quick reflexes, hand-eye coordination, rubber-band flexibility or even the ability to touch your toes (and thank god for that). It's really just putting one foot in front of the other, then repeating the process. Tripping over, rolling an ankle or getting sunburnt are probably the worst things that can happen.
6. It can be social and solitary
Do you consider yourself an introvert? Extrovert? Ambivert? Whatever-vert? Great - walking will definitely work for you. You can do it in groups, you can do it in pairs, you can do it with a pet, and you can do it totally solo. The benefits remain.
7. Walkers are friendly.
Let's face it - gym people can be a little daunting. Ditto cyclists, runners, even the pilates crowd. Walkers, alternatively, are generally chill and friendly. Give them a 'hello' and you'll get one back. They might even let you pat their dog if you're lucky.