Walking as a Cultural Phenomenon

When was the last time you rode a horse to the Post Office, elementary school, fast food restaurant, relatives, friends or a nearby shopping district? Probably not for a long time if ever. Most likely you ride in or on a vehicle. Walk? Poo – who has time to walk? Walking is for health obsessives and retired people. However, it is true that the most important physical function of Homo sapiens is walking. Walking was our survival tool back in the early days; we could walk all day without stopping. Still present today are parts of the brain that lie idle until you walk.

Walking has more benefits than lifting weights, yoga, meditation, housework, gardening – even swimming. None of these are bad; in fact if you pursue them, continue! But walking is magical. The whole brain – conscious and unconscious, troubled and untroubled, thinking and unthinking, healthy and unhealthy – knows immediately when you begin to walk. At a proper pace, walking even induces meditation, leaving the rest of the brain to pay attention to the erstwhile idle walking instructions.

The benefits of walking have been proven over and over and over again. The health industry is rife with advice to patients to walk. Mariner went to Mayo Clinic recently with four diverse conditions in mind. Every physician said walking will improve mariner’s situation.

Why don’t we walk as part of our daily routine? Time. Time is why we don’t darn socks anymore, don’t have clothes that should be ironed, prefer to survive on frozen, ready-to-eat meals, order everything online instead of using storefronts, use Interstates instead of US highways, put up with abuse when flying, driving one’s self and the kids to a neighborhood event instead of walking, on and on . . . except watching television. We always have time for television from 5:00AM to 2:00AM; certainly there is no time to walk for Pete’s sake!

Actually, we all have time. It’s just not how we do things. Using mariner’s town and family as an example, we do drive everywhere even though walking anywhere in town is not a great effort. Two things must occur: 1, slow the day down. Believe it or not, everything still will be accomplished. 2, if your destination is within a mile or two, walk instead of drive. In mariner’s town this applies to the bank, Post Office, laundry, three family households, library, churches, golf course, convenience store, discount store, lumber yard, fair grounds, car garages, etc. In our town, we can walk to two gas stations. Simply make time in your time-driven schedule to walk as part of your daily experience. Simply say to your family as you leave, “I’m walking to the Post Office.”

Mariner will not engage in the detailed chemistry or benefits of walking – information is everywhere; just type ‘benefits of walking’ in your search engine or go to your library.

If mariner must walk, you must walk, too.

Ancient Mariner

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