How to Enjoy Walking

Blake Wilcox

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Walking in the city.

I definitely struggle to fill my spare time, and I hate being idle. I’ve had this issue for years, but it was only magnified as I moved back to my parents’ house in the suburbs due to COVID-19. I took up walking as a free and fun way to fill my time. Walking is a great way to get daily exercise and vitamin D, healing you inside and out.

Step 1: Find a route that works for you.

When I lived in Chicago, I would just wander as far as my legs could take me and then take public transportation home. This system was great but doesn’t exactly work in the suburbs. Now, I have to factor in enough energy to get me home. I recommend new walkers to start with a route about a mile long; you would be surprised how tired your legs get if you’re not used to walking long distances. Then, you can slowly add mileage; I usually do about 6 or 7 now.  It’s important to find two or three different routes to rotate between so you don’t get bored. And if you get bored of those, start doing them backwards, the opposite way you usually do.

Step 2: Choose an accompaniment.

Some people may hesitate to take up walking because at the surface, it’s a boring activity. Walking with no clear destination or purpose can feel like a waste of time. So, why not fill the time with reading a book, learning something new, or listening to that album you never quite got around to. I prefer audiobooks, walking is almost automatic so I can just focus on the piece that I’m listening to. Music is a great alternative if you don’t want to focus on a book. When I do choose music to walk to, my favorite song is “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.

Step 3: Invite a friend.

After a few weeks of walking on my own, I found so many cool places and things I was dying to show my friends. Plus, I’ve found it’s easier to convince someone to come along if you have something specific to show them. My favorite gem I’ve found is a collection of strange letters written in code hidden in a tree stump.

Whether you think you enjoy walking or not, I encourage you to give it a try when you have a free afternoon. Occupy your ears with something else and just let yourself visually take in your surroundings. There may be surprises in your neighborhood that you had never noticed.

6 thoughts on “How to Enjoy Walking

  1. Hey Blake! This is such a great how-to guide to walking because it’s such an overlooked physical activity. I have always enjoyed walking and opt to walk most places in general. My favorite walk is roughly 2.5 miles long, from my apartment to Belmont Harbor and back along the lake. I almost immediately felt the consequence of working and going to school from home last year when the lockdowns first started, so walking was definitely a great way to keep up with physical activity without being able to go to the gym.

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  2. I’ve been walking the same route for almost a year now in the suburbs my parents live in and I have found podcasts to be essential! I recommend Wait, Wait! Don’t Tell me and Podcast But Outside! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Blake: this is lovely and so “COVID” — I hope that’s OK to say. A year into the pandemic and it’s clear it has influenced every part of our lives, and thus, many of these types of assignments. Occupying our brains with music, audio books, or in my case: podcasts, is such a wonderful way to get exercise and entertaining. Hail, fellow Bee Gees, fan!

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  4. This is so fun and timely. I think this past year has definitely increased the number of people who are walking on a frequent basis. But a lot of time it can seem like a chore. But these steps are the perfect way to bring back the fun (and distraction) often needed to get us out of the house on a rainy or cold day. And bringing a friend on a walk makes time go so fast! Great ideas, thanks for sharing!

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  5. Hi Blake! I was never a big walker before COVID because I found it a little boring but during the first lockdown I started walking everyday with my mom and our dogs and now I still do it daily. I choose to do it alone most of the time as it’s my one hour-ish everyday to just listen to podcasts and have some silence (the joys of working from home as my dad is also working from home).

    There’s a trend going around TikTok called ‘hot girl walk’ and it’s surprising to see how “popular” walking has gotten in the last year when it’s something we all could have been doing this whole time!

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  6. This such a lovely article Blake. I think walking is a great activity to step back and be in the present moment.

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