childhood

The psychology of modern-day walking 

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I am a walker. I  am a New Yorker. I can easily walk 4 miles in a day and not blink or cramp up. I love the euphoria I get from walking. I also love that I know I can out-walk most other people, including potential thieves. Yes, that was a very New York declaration  to make.  In New York, walking serves as the major mode of transportation which is why shoes are of the utmost importance in New York. I carry my 5-inch heels in my bag, while I wear my Keds.

For many, walking serves an utilitarian function as one needs to get from point A to Point C.  And with that usually point A is one point of the parking and point C is the the storefront.  It is kind of sad, really. Many people view walking as a nuisance and I just don’t understand that perspective. Just today, I was told by a grumpy kid I don’t like to walk. Kids should love to walk. They should love to jump, walk and hop.  Such a sentiment is probably why so many young kids are sadly getting Type II diabetes. It shouldn’t be that way.

As a society, people have gotten lazy. Maybe people never really liked walking. Although, I do not believe that for a second. How could people not have liked walking through the world taking in nature and its growth? In all fairness, I do see more walking trails being built up through various city centers and outskirts. On the west side highway of New York City, there is the Highline and the Greenway where you can speedwalk, jog or bike. New spaces are being created for everyone where they can engage in special walking activities. Walking is a special activity now. People will walk if it is in a cool spot where you can take a selfie or two. There is a website called the walkingsite where people get “walking information and support”. Hmm. What is this world we live in where people need information on walking?  Apparently, according to Wikipedia, walking in the United Kingdom, includes walking in a park as well as walking up the Alps. Meanwhile, in the United States a vigorous walk is a hike.  Don’t know about you all but walking is walking. But as we see nowadays anything more than a few blocks of walking is a hike.

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We walk until we are told it is the end of the trail. Our built environment that we go through for work everyday is not set up for walking. We need to make special efforts to walk these days. I myself have a Fitbit where I get buzzed and zapped if I don’t walk 250 steps each hour. Here is the thing though, if I walk without my Fitbit on, does it count? The other day I went and did the treadmill and was extremely sad when I realized that i didn’t have my Fitbit on to acknowledge that I had indeed walked. If a tree falls and no one hears it…? You know how that goes. Apparently, the same is true for walking now.

 

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19 replies »

  1. Back when I was being healthy and good, I went walking all around the neighborhood. I never really kept track of the distance, but I would walk for a few hours. It was fun, I had kind of a mental break and haven’t been walking like that in years. I should start again. That Fitbit sounds nice, where it buzzes to remind you. (I never called it a hike and I definitely went walking more than 4 miles). And yes, it definitely counts as walking. 🙂

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  2. I agree with you, people should walk more. I used to live in China where a walking distance of 20 minutes is considered near. Now that I am back in my home country I noticed I become lazy. Here, no one would choose to walk a distance like that, they’ll drive or motorbike it for sure!

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  3. I miss walking in LA! Check my post about Huntington Beach to learn what I miss most about it. Here’s the link: https://hbsuefred.wordpress.com/2016/04/09/huntington-beach-and-why-im-still-hbsuefred/ .

    I miss it so much that I am very desperately seeking a new “walking buddy” like the one I had there. If I can find one that lives in a 20 minute driving radius I would even make the major sacrifice to commit to doing it very early in the morning, before the heat and humidity here in East TN become too oppressive to even consider any outdoor exertion, no matter how small. Of course, that would also require that there be no approaching storm, which I have observed happens more in the evening than in the morning. An early morning walk like this would of course only be feasible during parts of the year.

    Other times in the year I could probably only take outdoor walks in the afternoon, and then only if temperatures have risen above freezing! I repeat…I really miss walking in LA!

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  4. I have realised how much I love walking this year and so many scenic views, at times we should all be encouraged to view the outdoors and exercise. Also its very therapeutic
    , to not all people, but some 🙂

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  5. Very interesting article. I lived only 30 minutes away from my work and got asked why I come by foot every day. I hate public transportation, it makes me sleepy and/or depressed. So I usually walk every day, everywhere. I love it, especially walking to my morning destination because I usually arrive feeling fully awake and very happy.

    And yes, I can also relate to the sad feeling of not having your fitbit acknowledge the activity. It is so silly, but at the same time, it is a different feeling of accomplishment when an application recognizes the effort you put. I believe it is because we need someone to witness it. In sports, it is usually another person. But since everyday walking is usually a lonesome activity, our apps take that role.

    Take care, Jadea

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  6. I love walking! It gives you the chance to take in your surroundings and be in the present moment, it is refreshing. I feel as if people these days are so fast paced and eager to get to where they have to go and do what they want to do that they choose the quickest method of transportation… I found myself laughing at your comment about your Fitbit because I am the same way with my Apple Watch 🙂

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  7. I can totally relate to the Fitbit struggles lol. I am from Georgia and a lot of the As, Bs and Cs are spread out and are to far to walk, but I vist nature trails about once every few months with my wife. However, if my locations were shorter I would love to walk to them. Walking is beneficial for the environment, your health, and your social health. Great post!

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