Take a Long Walk, America

Christine Whelan | Posted on 04/08/10

A recent Psychology Today post described walking as the "most un-American activity."

In this country there is such a horror of walking from point A to point B--why bother when you can drive. Walkers are viewed with the same suspicion as Communists in the 1950s. Walking as a form of transportation is discouraged but put on athletic garb and you get a pass.

Hyperbole? A bit, but I tend to agree. While some 70 million Americans walk as a form of exercise at least once a week, when people want to go somewhere - say, to work or to run a few small errands - the idea of walking (rather than driving) seems odd.

But not to me.

I'm an avid walker. I walk two miles to work each morning in New Balance sneakers and whatever semi-professional outfit I choose for the day (skirt, dress, no matter) and channel the 1980s working woman look. And then I hoof it home.

I will only live in a town or city that has sidewalks. Indeed, I agree with the "new urbanism" folks who say that sidewalks improve neighborhoods and create a better sense of community. So go on, calculate your neighborhood's "walkability" score. Use Google's pedometer function to calculate the number of calories you'd burn if you just went for a stroll to the local market instead of getting in the car.

I'm off for a post-parandial constitutional myself.

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