Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Walking? How is that a fitness activity? Well, I don’t mean the kind of leisurely walk you take to the fridge to get yourself a snack or the walk across campus after you realize your class started five minutes ago. Here, I’m talking more specifically about long walks that can positively impact your health. I think we’ve all seen those individuals walking around our neighborhoods with the fanny packs or the hand weights that make walking look like an intense Olympic-level event. But, you don’t have to keep up with them and you don’t have to do it alone.
Sometime near the end of the summer, my aunt offered to walk with me around our neighborhood to look at the fancy houses and catch up. After realizing she meant an actual hour-long walk that left me out of breath instead of what I imagined might be just a leisurely stroll with some gossip, I really began to enjoy myself. Anyone who knows me can attest that working out isn’t my strong suit. Many workout classes in the past left me hovering over a trash can hoping my face would soon return to its normal shade of pale and for the room to stop spinning. However, walking offered something I didn’t consider before — an activity I already knew how to participate in and could help me stay in shape without any equipment, monthly memberships or societal pressure.
The beauty of walking, at least for me, was the endless adaptability of it. You can fit into your schedule in any free moment and take it at your own pace wherever you want. With my aunt, we opted between the local high school track field and some of the local streets we lived around. When my roommates and I decided to start walking at the start of the semester, we opted to walk from our apartment to Griffin Rd and back. With my aunt, we walked for about an hour or roughly two miles. With my roommates, we walk for about two hours and hit somewhere around four miles in total. One time, I even walked to campus, which was also about two miles.
Now, I’m not going to lie. My legs did feel the burn the first few times, but that was an easy fix. I was able to take a phone call, walk with a friend or even create a playlist to distract myself. Eventually, it felt great to have that extra “stretch of the legs,” as some would say.
Don’t just take my word for it. According to Marilyn Gordon, assistant professor at the Dr. Kiran C. Patel college of osteopathic medicine, this type of walking has been found to improve mood, reduce stress levels, improves immune function and helps strengthen the muscles and bones in our bodies. Gordon also mentioned that NSU’s campus is conducive for walking because of the continuous walk paths around campus, especially around Gold Circle Lake.
So, if you have a packed schedule, a small budget or are like me and looking for a less intense workout activity to fit into your daily life, consider giving walking the ol’ college try.