If we’re honest with ourselves, the need to be more physically active should be a priority in our lives. Engaging in running, playing sports, working out, yoga, swimming, or bike riding (to name a few) are all great sources of physical fitness. Unfortunately, the vast majority of society overlooks walking, as it is something we all do on a daily basis to various degrees and is crucial in maintaining healthy living.
Like any activity, walking is no different due to the excellent physical benefits it imparts. Walking strengthens our immune system, improves our posture and endurance, and decreases our risk of weight gain and cancer1. If we walk for only ten minutes a day, it is “associated with enhanced eighteen-month weight loss in adults”2. When we think about cancer, not only can walking decrease our chances, it also bodes well while undergoing treatments3. Walking is extremely important as we get older too. Researchers found that “people who walk regularly in their fifties and sixties are thirty-five percent less likely to die over the next eight years than their non-walking counterparts”4. For most people, walking should indeed be preferred over-running due to injuries we may have such as bad ankles, knees, or back problems.
From a mental perspective, walking helps to reduce fatigue, depression, anxiety and improves mood (Steinhilber, 2018). What makes walking great is that it does not need to be done alone. Walking with other people is shown to improve our mood and confidence and alleviates stress and anxiety.5
On a personal level, I greatly value walking with my family around our neighborhood or at the various parks in our city, as it provides fresh air and the ability to enjoy one’s company. Instead of sitting at home watching television, choose to get out and enjoy God’s creation with loved ones by your side. Psalms 95:4-5 says “He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains. The sea belongs to Him, for he made it. His hands formed the dry land too”
When I was completing my university degree, I had two big exams where the stress and anxiety I felt were at an all-time high. Studying all day had become too much and when I finally decided to shut it down for the night, I went for a long walk where I was able to clear my head and also be in communion with the Lord. All the stress and anxiety I felt dissipated as I was able to have one on one time with God while enjoying his creation. 1 Peter 5:7 says “cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you”.
Now the question is, how long or often should I be walking? Studies show that it should be done thirty minutes a day in order to build and maintain healthy living (Walking for good health, 2012). However, that may not be possible for everyone. The key is to set a realistic goal for how often and long you can walk in a given week. All in all, this should be done gradually and at a pace you feel comfortable with.
In my experiences (as mentioned already) walking provides great communion with God and allows us the opportunity to bring our fears, stresses, anxieties to Him. God desires a meaningful relationship with us and what better way than through walking. Deuteronomy 8:6 says “observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to Him and revering Him”.