What’s One Mile Away?
Getting out and walking can be just as simple as running your errands. And most errands can be done within a mile of your home. Why not walk?
It’s Not About Steps
People who try to motivate folks to walk will often focus on miles, steps, distance or time. Those are fine goals, but they can throw up many obstacles for people who don’t tune into a wellness message around distance or time. For many, the point is to just start moving. They just want to get some steps in, but they don’t know how to do it intuitively.
Finding a walkable path, an indoor gym, or a friend to walk with might not be the way to get folks to move, and it misses the point. Sometimes people don’t have time to hunt for their places to walk. Walking needs to be an intuitive part of their lives, not an add-on to a busy schedule.
Walking should be an every day activity that easily fits into our busy lives. One way to do this is by looking at what’s nearby. Most of our daily life revolves around a small circumference around our home. Within that circumference, there’s lots of walking to be had. Taking advantage of what’s at hand can help people integrate more walking and more movement into their lives.
Thus, I throw up the 1-mile radius walking challenge.
Our Bodies Move Naturally
The hip bone’s connected to the leg bone…and amazingly, our bodies walk. Sadly, though, many of us have lost touch with this natural movement, and we are quick to jump into cars or other transport to get to the simplest of places that are the closest to our homes.
I ascertain that instead of participating in the habit of driving, let’s start with the habit of walking and, over time, move walking from a habit to a behavior to a life style. But let’s not get a head of ourselves.
Let’s first concentrate on making the act of walking a habit.
What’s One Mile? Go 20 Minutes?
The Life@3mph movement suggests that most people who walk a 20-minute mile, or 3 miles per hour, can do so at a comfortable pace and carry on a conversation. Your results may vary–that’s fine.
None the less, at a 20-minute mile, I suggest you can probably get your near-by errands done faster by foot than by car. By the time you get in the car, get out of your parking spot, merge into traffic, wait for lights, arrive at your destination, park, and walk to the entry, 20 minutes have passed.
With walking you not only can do your errand in the same amount of time, your body will love you for it as well.
Map Your Mile
I challenge you to map your mile. Go to Google Maps and find your location. Mark it with the geo marker, then measure the distance out from your home one mile in all directions. Draw a circle. Then, take a look within that circle.
If you don’t no how to use Google or you’d rather use a printed map, the process is the same. Unfold the map, find your home, measure out .5 mile from your home, draw a circle, and you’ll have a diameter of 1 mile to hunt for places to enjoy your life on foot.
What’s within a mile of your home? Perhaps you find a grocery, a post office, a drug store, a friend’s house, a community center, a park, a school, an office, a doctor. The list could be endless. Of those items on the list, what could you walk to, tomorrow? And the next day? And the next?
Just Walk It
Once you’ve identified your motivators to walk, what are your obstacles? Most folks can use the shoes that are on their feet, the jacket that’s on the hook, and the sunglasses that are on the table.
Walking is such a natural movement, our bodies don’t really need any extra tools to make a walking journey. Once you’ve decided you can do the walk, or even if you’re not sure, just get out and walk.
While Walking, Enjoy the Time
While you’re doing your mile walk, what did you see? What did you think about? How did you feel? How could it be better? Could you ask a friend to join next time? Could you do a 2-mile radius or a 3-mile radius? Could you make the commitment that once a week, twice a week, or every day, you’ll walk this errand rather than drive it?
I must give thanks to a friend (Rob Issem) of a friend (Jonathon Stalls) who turned me on to this idea. He mapped out his walk, discovered his son’s school was within range, and he and his son walked it for the first time. Now, they walk it every day. He’s more engaged with his son, they are getting to know their neighborhood, and their connection has improved.
What would you give thanks to if you walked your 1-mile radius? Would you comment below about what you discovered?
I walk everywhere within reason. My daily goal is to NOT move the car. Even when I had surgery on March 10th, in my mind the hospital was within walking distance, so I walked. I walk to all of my followup appointments. Just wanted you to know that I’m with you on the walking.
An amusing walking experience was in New Mexico in the smallest of towns. I went for a walk and was astounded by all of the trash. On my next walk, I took trash bags, one for actual trash, the other for recyclables. When I went to the post office in the smallest of towns, the post master said, “Aren’t you the woman who I see picking up trash?” Yes, that was me. The town was so small that the post office closed for a long siesta daily.
This is such a great story, Joyce. Not only do I love the “don’t move my car” mantra, being recognized as “the walker” in New Mexico is also awesome. You’re wonderful in so many ways. Thanks for sharing!