Over the past 7 weeks, we have become a country of walkers. And as our places of work and our workout facilities begin to open, I am hopeful that we won’t forget the value of putting one foot in front of the other.

Walking is a simple action and exercise, but it is also so much more. It can serve to connect us with our community, clear our heads, provide quality conversation, or deliver some much needed silence and solitude.



Want to know one of the best parts about walking?! You don’t have to think about it. I have never been comfortable or competent enough in a group exercise class to not have to think about the footwork, stretch or pose that I am performing. But, walking comes pretty naturally, it is how we were made to move. So not only do you not have to think about the motion, you don’t have to think about anything. The rhythmic nature of walking can help us to work through our thoughts, release our built-up tensions and anxiety and help us enter a state of peace or meditation, in which we are not thinking at all – a brain break. Ahhhh….

Going for walks can also help to connect us with our neighborhood and our neighbors. It provides a sense place and identity. I have talked to more of my neighbors in the past 7 weeks than I have in the 12 years we have lived in our house. I have also noticed the plants that grow wild and in gardens – and learned to identify several new species, I know which dogs belong to which houses (and which unfenced yards to avoid) and I have observed more migratory birds that usual, I have discovered streams and trails in our urban neighborhood that I didn’t know existed before Coronavirus. I have grown to appreciate our backyard, our street, and our neighborhood more because I know it better.

Traveling at 2 to 3 miles per hour is also serves as a rest and reset for our processing intake. We have identified that eating artificial colors and flavors may not be the best thing for our bodies because our systems weren’t created to digest them, but what about artificial speeds?! Humans were not made to travel 65 miles per hour. It’s a lot to take it when the things that are out your window begin to blur. It feels gentler on our minds and emotions to process things at a biped pace.

Walking also allows us to move away from the extremes of loneliness and togetherness presented by coronavirus. At a time when self-isolating introverts are feeling lonely, a walk six feet away from a friend can provide much needed companionship and conversation. On the other hand, for the quarantined cohabitators who are feeling smothered and overwhelmed a solitary stroll can provide respite.

Walking doesn’t require a gym membership, special sneakers, or spandex clothes. And even when we are divided politically and socially separated, we can feel unified in that fact that in the past two months almost all of us have stretched our legs and enjoyed some fresh air (with or without a mask). It is one of our lowest common denominators; a gift that has been handed down by four millions years of primates. So as things begin to open up and speed up, don’t forget to slow down and keep walking.