I’ve always been a walker. Let me clarify before somebody says they’ve been walking since they were 2 and they’re not impressed at all.
I’ve always been a walker beyond the steps needed to get from space A to space B, or house to car and vice versa. When I was a kid, the elementary school I attended was only about three blocks away, so I walked to and fro.
The junior high wasn’t much further and I kept walking. Then, in high school, when my mother refused to buy me a car, scarring me for life in many ways, I kept walking.
After school, when I couldn’t get life going, I kept walking. I walked to jobs, I walked out to the Kmart when it was really OUT on the highway. I walked everywhere I needed to go. As Bob Seger once sang, “I was young and strong and lean everywhere.”
Even after life got straightened out and I could afford cars, I kept walking. For a long time I walked two laps around Kefauver Park in Madisonville every day, which equals 2 miles I was always told.
As time has gone on, bringing age with it, walking isn’t on the top of my list anymore, though I do still try to hit the treadmill on a regular basis. The reason I bring up all this stuff that’s probably already made you stop reading is I saw a thing the other day that said Americans are basically lazy and would use an elevator instead of climbing one flight of stairs.
It was a survey by some group called gearsurvey.com and they asked 2,200 adults how long they would be willing to walk to get somewhere. They did it state by state and in Tennessee we’re apparently willing to walk 17 minutes, about 0.9 miles, to get somewhere. Any longer than that, you better hope the car starts.
Seventeen minutes is neither the worst or the best. They didn’t provide a listing of how each state responded, but just from looking around an interactive map, in Colorado, which is always the thinnest state, residents would be willing to walk for 24.2 minutes (1.2 miles) while Mississippi, always the fattest state, would only be willing to walk for 15.7 minutes (0.8 miles). I have no idea if those are the highest and lowest totals, but fattest and thinnest, it probably comes close.
And it’s not old people dragging down the average. Nationwide, about half of those under 35 can’t remember the last time they ran a mile, for any reason. Granted, I’ve never ran a mile no matter what age I’ve been, but I’ve walked plenty of miles, especially when I was under 35.
The poll also said 10 percent of Americans would not exercise more, even if their life depended on it. In a country of 330 million, 10 percent is not a small number (33 million), but if lack of exercise finishes them off, well, you know, would they really be missed beyond family members?
I admit walking started to become a less important part of my life after I got old enough that the weather started bothering me. The temperature could be in the teens and I would still go walk my 2 miles at Kefauver. Many times I thought I would never know what it meant to feel warm again.
Now if I feel even the slightest breeze when the temperature is 68, I get back in the car. “Not enough time left in this life to put up with that,” I’ll say.
Somebody once said a good walk would make you happy, or something. I think it was a president. Not sure about the quote or who said it. But it was a truthful statement. A good walk can perk you up, give you a better outlook on life and, as a bonus, improve your health.
That’s a voluntary walk. If you’re walking because your car broke down, then you’ll have a very different view of taking steps.
Either way, get back to walking. We’re in the middle of the pack, which is actually good for Tennessee, but we can do better. If it’ll help, tell yourself you can have one donut for every mile you walk. Don’t say a dozen. You know you won’t walk 12 miles.