Written by Rean Rehman.
(The following article reflects the writer’s own personal experiences and opinions.)
Long distance walking has been a passion of mine for years. It’s amazing for mental clarity, physical health and the ability to do so is something I hope lasts with me until I’m old. Indeed if I make it to my 80’s and 90’s, I still hope I can walk at least five miles a day. And if not, well that would be a decrease in my quality of life.
While walking for hours may sound bizarre or even insane to some, it’s amongst the best things one can do for themselves. If you do find yourself with hours to spare and nothing to do, taking a long walk is an amazing way to pass the time, as well as providing many other benefits.
I began long distance walking as a teenager, originally in order to help with weight loss and to improve my mental health. While at the time I thought it was a pretty boring thing to do, I eventually grew to love it and have been doing it fairly regularly bar some exceptions, including the quarantine. It should be no surprise that as a result, I definitely gained some weight! Walking as a whole has done wonders for me and has definitely been a good tool to cope with difficult times. While it may be a simple task, it provides much better effects than for what it may seem to be worth.
Personally, the impact of long distance walking for me has been that it has improved my mental health sizably. It has allowed me to feel refreshed and feel engaged. If I don’t go on walks for a while, I begin to feel moody and trapped, in a way. It also gives me time to reflect on myself, provides much solitude and a period of peace. Something that is only pleasant during a time of tension and negativity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the impact has only been positive.
At the moment, I cannot do much long distance walking as I have a lot of uni work to do. But once I am free, it’s definitely something I want to start doing again and I would like to try and push myself further. Indeed, I can walk up to 10 miles a day with fair ease but I would like to push myself to 12 miles or even 15 miles. Yes, I know it sounds completely strange but still.
The benefits of long distance walking are multiple. As stated in a HealthLine article, it burns a decent amount of calories, especially for walks of a higher length and speed. It also strengthens the heart and may help lower blood sugar levels, as well as ease joint pain, boosts immune function and energy. It can even extend your life, amongst just some of the benefits from walking as a whole.
It is also a pretty decent way of losing weight, provided one also maintains a calorie-deficit. I speak from personal experience as I lost 25 pounds/10 kg in less than three months back when I was 17, and I didn’t even go to the gym once!
Surely with these kinds of benefits, it is only a positive thing and if people were to do some more walking everyday, it would boost their health in the long-term. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and with classes having been shifted online, I have begun to do more long distance walking regularly and try and aim for about five miles a day minimum. This now takes some up of the time I would have spent commuting and so has been a benefit.
Overall, I would really recommend long distance walking and just walking, in general. It’s a simple thing but it has so many benefits. There really aren’t many negatives and while you may not miss out on much by not doing so, you will also not getting anything bad from doing so. If anything, you’ll only gain positives and reap the rewards!