Walking: Great for health and happiness

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It is true; to maintain health, enhance happiness and even to improve wealth we all need to exercise. Fortunately, there are limitless ways we can get that essential exercise. There are many organized sports, gobs of gyms, personal trainers, tennis courts and even fight clubs all offering a range of exercise. But all of these typically require at least some form of payment, some can even damage your health with a real likelihood of injury and all organized sports do require a degree of commitment many of us simply cannot provide. But there is one exercise option I truly believe from abundant experience is absolutely without question the very best option for pretty much every man, woman, adult or child. That exercise option is walking.

It requires no special gear or equipment beyond comfortable clothes and decent shoes. The extreme importance of using the right comfortable shoes was driven home to me undeniably a few years ago now when I was joined on my annual Hollywood Health Hike by Johnny Crawford, television and movie star as well as award winning singer best known for his role as Mark McCain on the hit TV show “The Rifleman.”  Johnny showed up as if going on set for “The Rifleman” complete with cowboy boots — not the ideal walking shoe. About half way through the 14 mile hike I had some serious concerns about his ability to keep on walking. Crawford did survive but in extreme discomfort, which is not the way to enjoy walking. He did recover enough to sing a couple of songs for us at the end of the hike.

Santa Monica, CA

Walking can be accomplished pretty much everywhere including indoors as well as outdoors. It is available essentially anywhere at any hour. It requires pretty much zero training. And can be amazingly fun as well. And as for the health benefits? Consider this:

Of course, there are a multitude of variations to consider including a person’s size, weight and even gender. And the speed at which you walk can make a difference. But the generally accepted rule of thumb is that you burn 100 calories per each mile walked. So walk just three miles and you get a guilt free slice of pizza.

Tribeca, New York City, NY

For many years now I have been walking a minimum of nine miles a day, but those nine miles include every single step I take measured by Samsung Health an app I have on my phone. And speaking of apps the two most popular are Samsung Health and My Fitness Pal. Both are excellent and free and not only keep accurate track of your walking, or running if you so desire, but they also can help you keep track of your caloric intake and other bits of vital information.

Unlike other popular activities walking does not keep you restricted to a gym or playing field. Indeed, one of the huge attractions to walking is that it helps get you out to explore the world around you and that can be a great deal of fun and richly rewarding. Since happy people are more likely to achieve greater success in all things it seems to me that walking magnificently addresses health, wealth and happiness.

River Seine, Paris, France

Walking is the perfect way of addressing Newton’s First Law of Motion.  You remember that law, right?  “A body at rest will remain at rest whereas a body in motion will remain in motion. Ponder that a moment.  If you choose to remain at rest, you will remain at rest for all eternity which basically equals dead.  Whereas if put yourself in motion you shall remain in motion which clearly equals long, healthy and happy life.  Yes I understand this is not the scientifically correct application of Newton’s law but I think it nevertheless does illustrate a valuable point.

It is also extremely good news to realize that our world, all 196.9 million miles of it, provides a never ending and often glorious abundance of beauty that can be best enjoyed when walking in and around it. No matter where you live you have plenty of options available to you. Add in a little traveling and the joy expands exponentially.

Cologne, Germany

I confess to having the great luck of living in Southern California where we can and do enjoy everything from the sea shore and beautiful beaches to majestic mountains and scorching deserts. We have an abundance of urban environment and also plenty of remote trails to fully enjoy. But it is hard to think of a place other than perhaps the polar ice caps or an active war zone where walking would not be enjoyable.

Just a few of my most memorable walks include:

1:  A stroll through Love Park in Lima, Peru
2:  Along the California coast from Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach
3:  New York City from the World Trade Center memorial through Tribeca to Broadway
4:  Paris from the Eifel Tower across the Seine River to the Arc de Triomphe and then Champs Elysees
5:  Around city center in Cologne, Germany
6:  St James Park in London

This list is truly tiny when contemplated against the vast abundance of magnificent sights and experiences our world offers and which are best enjoyed through the simple but joyous act of just walking.

St James Park, London, England

Just do remember that good shoes and comfortable clothing is required. Also highly recommended is your cell phone to keep track of your walking distance and so you can take beautiful and inspiring photographs to share with your friends. And I would highly recommend that you strive to pick up your pace a little to achieve maximum physical and health benefits. But I can’t even image any better activity than walking to boost your health, your happiness and yes even your wealth for the simple reason that historically happy and healthy people tend to be more productive than those who are not.

Photos by Ron Irwin
Top photo: Love Park, Peru