So you’re determined to be more durable. To do what Merriam-Webster defines as “staying strong and in good condition over a long period of time,” you also want to spend no money and hardly any thought – which is all possible when you walk.
How walking helps:
YOUR BODY. Before the digital age, people generally stayed in shape by doing the physical tasks required of everyday life. But since so much of what we do today involves sitting down, we can go hours – or even days – almost without moving and, in the words of biomedical researcher, Marc Hamilton, “The muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse.” When you walk, you break the cycle of inactivity, plus you actually get somewhere, which doesn’t happen when you run on a treadmill.
YOUR MIND. Scientists are just beginning to understand how a workout of the muscles also benefits the brain. A good indication is a study of American adults ages fifty through eighty. Among those who walked three days a week for 45 minutes, brain volume increased by two percent, while the brains of non-walkers shrank by 1.5 percent.
YOUR SPIRIT: Like all animals, we humans suffer when we lose contact with nature. Being out in the breeze and sunshine revives senses that go dormant when we spend so much time indoors. When you’re outside “doing nothing,” you also have a chance to mentally digest some of the information you’ve consumed that day. You might even experience a “light bulb moment” of creativity you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t step out of your usual routine.
Easy ways to do more walking:
Accompany your kids to the bus stop or all the way to school.
When driving to work or shopping, park on the far side of the lot.
Use the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator.
Opt for public transportation. The stroll to the train or bus stop can supply most or all of the half-hour of physical activity you’re advised to get each day.
For lots more practical advice about being more active and living well, read How To Be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design.
About the author:
Jenifer Joy Madden is a health journalist, digital media professor, tech hygienist, and inveterate parent of three durable young adults. Her words have informed millions on news outlets including ABC News, The Washington Post, and in her books, How To Be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design and The Durable Human Manifesto: Practical Wisdom for Living and Parenting in the Digital World.
Download The Durable Human Manifesto for free here.