It's National Walking Day; Get out and do it

The author, walking in the fog in Iceland/CC BY 2.0

Either St. Augustine or Diogenes said Solvitur Ambulando, or it is solved by walking, first. Henry David Thoreau used it. Writer Graeme Gibson tells us that "personal solutions to climate change threat can be as simple, practical, and economical as choosing to walk rather than drive." There are so many benefits to it. According to the American Heart Association, today is National Walking Day. It's sort of silly, like having a National Breathing Day; It is something we should just do. But it is surprising how difficult it is in much of North America, where the design of our cities and the attitudes of our governments makes it almost impossible.

At MNN, they note that walking just 40 minutes a day could seriously benefit your health.

Walking is known to melt your thighs and perk up your bum. But its healthy resumé boasts some even more impressive accomplishments, from cash savings to increasing the odds of survival for breast cancer patients.

They note that walking helps deflect diabetes, soups up your sex life, gets you off your meds and can save your mind.
More: 8 astonishing benefits of walking

where the paths meet/CC BY-ND 3.0

Jaymi recently posted that a walk in the park fixes a fuzzy brain.

The evidence keeps rolling in: when you need to clear your head, the best place to do it is out among the trees.

Slate /Screen capture

Tom Vanderbilt wrote a wonderful series on the Crisis in American Walking, where he explains how walking has been engineered out of existence; he illustrates the point with a photo of a grandma driving her grand-daughter from the house to the curb to catch the school bus. He points out that as far as engineers are concerned, those who walk are impediments, obstacles, responsible for delays. We summarize in Tom Vanderbilt On The Importance Of Walking, Both For Our Health and For Our Cities

Toronto Police recommended pedestrian wear /Screen capture

Walkers don't get a lot of respect. In Toronto, where I live, the police want us to dress up in reflective clothing when we go for a walk or we might get killed. More blaming the victim as Toronto police tell pedestrians to "Do the Bright Thing" When the Chief Medical officer made some recommendations to stop the carnage the Mayor's brother, a City Councillor, asked "Why does this guy still have a job?

Broken Atlanta Sidewalks/PEDS/CC BY 2.0

In Atlanta, people who walk are definitely second class citizens. The municipality doesn't even take responsibility for the walking infrastructure. Are sidewalks a civic responsibility? Not in Atlanta.

In some cities, it is even illegal to walk.

A town in Wisconsin has moved to solve its bicycle and pedestrian safety issues by making a simple law: No more walking and biking. It looks like the city of Hull may just become the least green city in the entire world.

More: City in Wisconsin Seeks to Outlaw Bicyclists & Pedestrians

Wikimedia/IDuke/CC BY 2.0

In fact, walkability is critically important to our health. A recent study found a direct correlation between it and diabetes rates.

The results were surprising, with up to a 50 percent increase in the risk of developing diabetes for those living in a less walkable neighborhood, when compared to long-term residents living in the most walkable areas, results were regardless of neighborhood income.

Read How Neighborhood Design Can Make Us Sick

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Tags: Walking