Starting Little for the Walkers

Walking is the best weight-loss plan on the planet.

It’s better than running because you can always speed-walk and you won’t risk knee or ankle injury. As your target heart-rate lowers with age, running is too strenuous.

When I moved to Chicago for three months, I lost 15 pounds. A guy I know who moved to Scotland lost 25 pounds. It’s because you must walk everywhere in these places–even though I took the bus and train almost everywhere, the walking was still more than in the suburbs. This is why all those weightloss advice columns say park far away from the store–they’re trying to replace what we lost when we made our nation suburban–natural exercise.

So I know I just conceded that suburbs can be a good thing in our future, and I still say so, but they have to be more walkable. Which starts with the citizens. Not with the sidewalks. Here are some tips for truly enjoying walking:

1. Walk with a partner.

2. Have a destination. As I mentioned before, the ice cream place near my house attracts many walkers. This is because you can’t drive up to it. The parking lot is in the back and there’s no back entrance. Every summer night, people swarm that place in large groups.

3. Take Group Walks! Group walks are incredibly fun. Conversation flows enormously better when walking–the backdrop is constantly changing.

4. Listen to some meditative music. If you’re walking alone, let it be meditative and spiritual. A walk can slow down your thoughts and change the course of a bad mood.

5. Walk in beautiful places. Enough said.

6. Walk for an hour or more. It feels really, really good when you’re done.

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