Philosopher Henry David Thoreau’s most meaningful essay was about walking. To put it mildly, he was obsessed. “Every walk is a sort of crusade,” he proclaimed. Without walking, he said he could not preserve his health or sprits. He also couldn’t write. For Thoreau, walking was not just a physical act, but a spiritual one too. And today, science has caught up with his musings, as more and more data stacks up on the side of walking being one of the best things you can do for your health and mind.
“It has a plethora of physical and mental benefits,” says Mairead Hallissey, a physiotherapist at Melbourne’s BalanceNorth, noting that research shows it can help manage chronic disease, reduce the risk of some cancers and lower blood sugar too. It’s also readily accessible, low-cost and is forgiving to our joints and poses less injury risk than other forms of exercise.
“Even better, walking at a brisk pace can provide health benefits similar to running,” says Mairead. “It’s one of the most underrated forms of cardiovascular exercise.” Now we know you know how to walk. But there are some easy ways to take the simple act of getting from A to B on foot, and transform it into a meaningful event for your body and brain.