National Walking Day Comes at an Optimal Time

Ryan Glasspiegel
Apr 1, 2020, 10:37 AM EDT
Walking a dog
Walking a dog | PATRICK SEEGER/Getty Images
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Once or twice a month I am minding my own business when I happen to see it's National [Unhealthy Food] Day, and then I get pangs for a cheeseburger or pizza or whatever that aren't going away until it's down my gullet. Rarely do I get a similar urge for something that is more beneficial to my body, but here I was, struggling to find something sportsy to write about after three weeks of no sports, looking at Google Trends for some motivation, and saw that it's National Walking Day.

As far as activities go, they've mostly been wrested away from us in the past month. We can't go to sporting events, movie theaters, bowling alleys, casinos, or gyms. Consequently, even more time than before is spent doing sedentary activities like reading, watching TV, or implanting whatever junk is on our phones into our brains. The one thing that we can really do to help our temperaments right now is to go on long walks.

Last week at this time, I was feeling especially slothy. I'm already not the most disciplined eater in the world, but it felt especially like my apartment was an assembly line between the kitchen and my belly. That was when I resolved to download a step-counting app and give myself a competition. Over the next six days, I averaged about seven miles of steps per day, with a high of 10 and low of 4. It swung my mood dramatically. Though it has yet to be the magic panacea to quell my gluttonous consumption, that aspect of isolation at least feels more comparatively balanced out.

It's been crap weather in Chicago, so the activation energy is still a little bit cumbersome, but once I've gotten started on it there's been really positive momentum and I've actually been finishing days in good moods. That may not sound like much, but it's a triumphant improvement from the isolation stretch that came before it.

Some of the best walks in Chicago -- the Lakeshore path and the 606 -- have also been taken away on account of the failure of the public to adhere to proper social distancing on them. As disappointing as that is, there are still great walks to be had.

Anyways, I've rambled on for long enough. Hopefully you see this post and it ignites a sufficient spark. Finish up any work or domestic responsibilities, fire up a playlist on Spotify or Pandora, and head outside for a walk of at least a few miles. You likely won't regret it.

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