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The Life-Changing Magic of Walking

by SmartyPants Staff

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The Life-Changing Magic of Walking

by Whit Honea

I went on a walk today, despite the lack of time to do so. I was buried beneath deadlines, tethered on a conference call and stuck in the same rut as the days before, ad nauseam. It was duty that bound me, plus the fear of not upholding it—an endless loop of responsibility held in place by duct tape, the omniscient system of paychecks and balances. Also, lots and lots of coffee.

The first step was the hardest.

I live and work in the bubble of suburbia, an endless quilt sewn of cookie-cutter houses and drought-worn lawns. We are connected by blacktop and sidewalks, the seams of a neighborhood from which we nod at one another and make small talk about the weather. It is a blanket of safe, warm comfort, and for the most part that is why we live here.

Yet, there are open spaces, overlooked and ignored by the majority of passers, that offer respite from the status quo, hiding within the start of small paths that lead to bigger trails. These are the emergency exits you always hear about, an escape from the drudgery of staying awake through one more expense report. This is an answer of adrenaline and adventure, always available should one only choose to notice. I stood from my desk and I walked straight to it.

Unlike most things, there is no downside to walking, save in terms of terrain and slope. It is a time for company and conversation, or the silence of solo trekking. The health benefits are staggering, whether it be weight-loss, stamina, or mental clarity, and every route is scenic. They say it is the journey, not the destination, but a good walk is one and the same, and when you get to where you’re going you are better for how you got there.

I know all that and always have, still I spend my days sitting for hours, confusing exercise with standing, and talking myself out of the very thing that would serve me best. Today, I chose not to listen.

And so, there I stood, like Robert Frost in running shoes, looking at the two choices that diverged before me. One led around the bend, a curve of cracked concrete that would quickly take me back again; the other an alley of tall, dry grass with the promise of hills in the distance.

I opted for the latter, likening it to adventure, and then I left my mind to wander. My feet kept time accordingly.

I went on a walk today, and it was exactly what I needed. I should do it again tomorrow.


Know someone who could use a stroll? Share this with them!

How do you take a break from your day? We’d love to hear in the comments!

 

Posted on February 24, 2016

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