Wednesday, April 8, 2020

What can we do? Walk!

Keep On Walking - SocialWorker.comThe acclaimed English writer Charles Dickens once wrote, “Walk to be healthy, walk to be happy.” Mr. Dickens made a great point long before any scientific research supported his statement. Walking, either on a leisurely stroll or at a moderate pace for distance, results in health benefits for your whole body. Physical and mental health are positively impacted by walking. While it is lower impact than running, the benefits to your heart are similar. Mentally, walking can help improve mood by leading to a release of endorphins—natural hormones that improve mood. A breath of fresh air can also help to improve mood. Simply being outdoors has stress reduction benefits.

With fitness centers and gyms closed, along with many other facilities, there is still one thing you can do for your health and happiness: walk. Even with all of the social distancing guidelines, you can still go on walks. Get to know your neighborhood on foot or spend time walking on nearby walking and biking paths, or go walking downtown. Nature areas also make for great places to walk in. To find one do a Google search for “parks nearby” or visit to locate a park near you.  Getting more familiar with the nature spaces in your community can positively impact your mental and physical health while adhering to the current executive orders for social distancing and community mitigation of COVID-19.
In the past few weeks, more and more events social gatherings have been cancelled. Many people are now working from home, or their workplaces have temporarily closed. As a result, for many, isolation has set in. This isolation can negatively impact an individual’s health and well-being. Scheduling a walk every day or even just a few times a week can bring back a sense of routine to our otherwise interrupted lives. Start small, and work your way up to longer distances or a quicker pace. Walk on the sidewalks where you can, and walk toward traffic when you can’t be on a sidewalk. Wear bright clothing if walking in rural areas, or on the side of the road. Following a few safety tips can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. And just seeing people across the street or on the trail will help bring a smile to your face—while, of course, practicing social distancing.