The Inertia

When it comes to improving your health, there are a million and one complicated or high tech tips out there, all claiming to offer miraculous benefits. But some of the best ways to improve your wellness and quality of life are the simplest: clean eating, drinking more water and getting higher quality sleep. And while high-intensity training has been big for some time now, we still overlook the fact that on the other end of the scale there’s a type of movement that’s as old as humankind itself and is so beneficial: walking. One guy who knows more about this than most people is Jonathon Stalls, who walked across America in 2010 to raise money for micro-funding initiative Kiva.org (see his TED Talk “Life at 3 MPH”). After completing this epic, 3030-mile trip, he founded the non-profit co-op Walk2Connect, which organizes community walks to bring people of all backgrounds together and get them out in nature. Now way in to tiny houses (his Instagram is awesome), here are his top four reasons for you to start taking a daily walk:

Mental Clarity

“The Surgeon General recommends at least 30 minutes of daily activity not just for physical reasons but also mental well being. When you get into the rhythm of walking you start to clean out cognitive blockages, making new connections between ideas that you hadn’t even thought of associating before. You’re scouring the landscape – what’s in front and beneath you and what’s in the distance with your eyes, but might not realize that your mind is moving at the same time. One Stanford study shows that walking makes you more creative.”

Improves Community Health and Makes Your Neighborhood Safer

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“Walking can give you the gifts of solitude. But it’s also communal because when we walk outside we’re putting ourselves in the public realm in a way that we don’t when we get in our cars. When you’re present on your street and in your neighborhoods, you encounter people you might never have talked to or have even known existed and start building relationships with them. If you can get a few others together then there are multiple people out and about, which might not seem like much but can go a long way to making your neighborhood safer. When there are people willing to be out and be seen, others are less likely to be up to no good. And when neighbors know and care about each other, they look out for each other and each other’s homes. Initiatives like GirlTrek encourage physical health but also prompt people to take back their streets.”

"…see the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, dharma bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and there have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn't really want anyway such as refrigerators, tv sets, cars, at least new fancy cars, certain hair oils and deodorants and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume. I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution, thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks." #jackkerouac #dharmabums #thedharmabums #walkacrossamerica #colorado #kivawalk #getoutside #wander #wanderlust #kerouac #poetry #consumerism #letgo #walking #lifeat3mph #walk2connect #rambling #adventure #travel #coloradotography #longwalks #freedom #freedomthinkers #simplify #livefree #liveauthentic #lovewins #igers #rockymountains

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Experiment in the Unknown

“So much of what we do every day is predictable and controlled. When you walk outside your front door you never know what you might encounter. While of course you can set out for a specific destination, it’s also fun to walk with no objective or timeline. When you wander like this you invariably discover new things – whether you stop in at a different coffee shop, find path you’ve never taken before or notice trees blooming on a certain street for the first time. Just be open and observant and see what presents itself.”

It’s Just Freakin’ Good For You

“People across the globe walk an average of seven miles a day, but we’ve lost that because we think walking is too slow and inefficient. So instead we zip around in our vehicles at 50, 60 or 70 miles an hour and miss a lot as we zoom by. I think that a lot of the health problems we have in developed countries stem from not moving enough on our own two feet – heart disease, digestive issues and many more. The cure is pretty simple – get out and walk. Even a few minutes a day is going to make a big difference for most people – whether that’s improving the health of their joints, their cardiovascular system, or whatever. We need to rediscover our body’s ability to support itself, which it doesn’t have to as much when we’re sedentary and spend most of our time indoors. If you don’t feel comfortable walking by yourself, ask a friend or family member to go with you or look up an organization like America Walks, which organizes community events across the country.”



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