As a company that plants 10 trees for each item purchased out of our store, spending time outside is important to us. Sadly, we all have to work, and that often means spending all day indoors (unless you can find yourself a sweet tree planting job). But if you live close enough, you can still get outside!
Last year, writer Jenny Rough decided to change something about her life. She became tired of fighting the morning commute to work and opted to walk to work instead. Little did she know at the time, that this seemingly small change in how she would get to work would dramatically alter her life! As Jenny explained in an article she wrote for The Washington Post:
“Washington has some of the worst traffic congestion in the country, and there was no way I could feel anything but tense that day and many others as I watched people engage in the worst of human behavior: cutting into lanes, yelling curses and making obscene gestures, as if we were all a bunch of toddlers throwing an R-rated temper tantrum.
It was clear: After years of city traffic, I had to escape the constant conga line of cars.”
Now, Jenny takes the train into the city. When her work day is finished, she changes her clothes and walks over 7 miles back home. Even though she gets home an hour later than she would if she drove, she is loving the way it has changed her life. Below are some of the benefits that Jenny has experienced:
Walking is energizing!
Walking gives you more energy to do things in the evening that you may not otherwise feel like doing after a long day of work. As Jenny herself states, “I actually feel I have more time in the evenings, not less. I feel energized and happier.”
Can’t walk to work? Maybe try walking through a forest instead. The effects are similar!
Walking builds muscle
Many people have the idea that walking is only good for cardiovascular health. But, walking also builds muscle! Jenny reported that her calves are much more firm now that she is walking home from work.
Even if you can’t walk to work due to distance, make a little time every day for a walk. Here’s why…
It inspires you to make healthier choices
Exercise of any kind can inspire you to make healthier choices. Jenny found this to be true. She states “On walking nights, I’m not as tempted to be a slug in front of the TV and to eat comfort food in place of a healthy dinner, as I’m often tempted to do when I commute by car.”
Walking makes you happier
Exercise, especially walking outside, can increase your happiness. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which create a happy, positive outlook on life. Recent research shows that being out in nature reduces anxiety and negativity while increasing happiness, memory and cognition. Endorphins also help you sleep better.
Walking can increase marital happiness
Seem crazy, right? But, Jenny found that she is happier in her marriage since she started walking home from work. As she said in her article, “I’d always wanted to be a couple who took an evening stroll after dinner, but my husband never seemed game. Reacting to my newfound enthusiasm, he recently said, “Let’s walk the neighborhood loop.” Walking together gives a couple uninterrupted time to talk about their day or any problems, troubles or disagreements they may have.
And, something I would like to add:
Walking reduces pollution
Vehicles give off emissions that contribute to pollution and climate change. In fact, vehicles emit 20 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon of fuel burned. On average, that adds up to 5.5 tons per year, per driver!
Given all of these amazing benefits of walking rather than driving, I encourage all of you readers to walk more. If it’s impossible for you to walk even one way to or from work, you could still walk to the store, while running errands, going out to eat or to a movie. I would bet that, if you really think about it, there are many ways you could come up with to drive less and walk more.