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#2: Shall we take a walk?

#2: Shall we take a walk?

June 5 is marked by the United Nations as World Environment Day, a day set aside since 1974 to promote “worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.”  This year's theme was “Air Pollution”.

That inspired us to talk about walking.  What better way of reducing air pollution than by using our two legs to travel around.  If you have read our first post, we do not suggest to do all your travels by foot, but to try and think about when and where you can walk more.

For example, if you do have to use your car to go somewhere, consider parking a bit further from your destination and walk the last mile or km.  You might not even find a parking spot close to where you are going anyway and would end up going around with your car and pollute (lose time) even more.  Studies have shown that when people look for a spot in parking lots, they always tend to drive longer to find a spot the closest possible to the exit of the parking to avoid walking while there are many empty spots slightly further away.  

If you do have the possibility to go all the way by foot somewhere, it's of course even better.  At first, you might think that you will lose precious time in your busy day or that you will have a hard time carrying your groceries with you but with proper planning and a good backpack nothing is stopping you.

All this walking added to your every day routine will not only help reduce air pollution but will also have huge health benefits:

  • increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness
  • reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
  • improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes
  • stronger bones and improved balance
  • increased muscle strength and endurance
  • reduced body fat

My favorite positive effect of walking though is how it clears your mind.  After a few minutes of walking in the proper environment and conditions and you will feel your brain getting liberated from all the stress and negative thoughts that were haunting you throughout the day.  If you have the opportunity to walk in a wood nearby or a nice green park, it's the best of course, but even just walking around your block with your dog, loved one or by yourself and even for a few minutes and you will feel the effect already. 

The fact is that we tend to overflow our brain with information nowadays and never take the time to let it rest.  Science has shown that our brain needs to be left on "idle" for a certain period of time every day to be properly functional again.  This usually happens during our sleeping time but people tend to sleep less and less and even before bed or as soon as they wake up, turn towards their smartphone and the resting time of our brain gets shorter and shorter.  For the same reason, babies need a lot of sleep given all the new information their brain store.  Without this rest, the brain would overflow and overload with so much going into it.  In turn it could have serious damage to your body as a whole and we all know someone around us who suffered a burnout due to hyper activity and stress. 

Let's focus on the positive and come back to walking though.  Practicing it regularly can avoid all those health issues and make you feel so much better. At the same time, you would be doing yourself and the earth a favor by polluting less when replacing your car trips by walking trips.  So to keep on celebrating World Environment Day why don't you go for a walk today, and try keeping a habit of doing every day or every week even for a short period of time.  Your body, your brain and the Earth will thank you!

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