Have Feet Will Travel

It's amazing at the number of times we hop in the car to zip from this place to the next. Two days without a car this week provided me with a wonderful time to observe and think. So many cars whizzed by me at crosswalks. People drove around in circles trying to find the closest parking spot at the mall. Driving means you sit. And driving lots creates a more sedentary way of life. What part do we play in this auto driven lifestyle we lead?

Many years ago,  communities were purposely created so that people lived near one another. Old New England towns were built around the town green where kids played and people gathered to socialize. Basic needs were provided within walking distance: groceries, dentists, schools and shops. This same concept was used to build the first cities, though parks replaced town greens. Communities, towns, and cities were set up to encourage activity.

As technology developed and the use and availability of cars went up, things changed. More and more people could and would use their cars to get everywhere.  People moved out to the suburbs, which were designed with space in mind: houses farther apart and stores were farther away. Sitting in cars replaced walking as a new lifestyle...

In many areas of the world, walking to the market every day is still a way of life. Though some communities in our country still offer basic needs within walking distance, many do not. And walking to the store is not an option for many. They may live far away from shopping. Or perhaps the local market left the city to find a bigger, more open area to build their business which forces the use of motorized travel.

As I walked on my errands yesterday and today, I thought about how my community was certainly not making foot traffic easy. Some sidewalks were uneven and ended abruptly. Not every intersection offers a pedestrian light button to push. Drivers forget to give walkers the right of way.

I know every town and city can't rebuild the entire town to prioritize its walk-ability, but something needs to change. Perhaps a city planner could come up with ideas to make things easier for us on our feet.

And we need to take action ourselves. Decide what is possible for you. I only need to walk about a mile to get a mall, 2 grocery stores, Target, restaurants, and banks. If you live in a town such as mine, where lots of stores are build near each other, consider parking at one and walking to all the others. Better yet, walk there like I did. Even simply deciding to park in the farthest away spot and walk to the store, you've racked up steps and burned a few calories.

Remember, every step matters. The vast majority of people who have lost weight and kept it off for a year or more exercise for an hour or more every day. And most of these people walk for fitness. If you're able, slip into a good pair of sneaks and Walk for Your Life!!