Running extra: My take on walking and the spaces made for it

I’ve reached the point in my life where things for me have slowed considerably. I am not as active as I used to be. Which is not too tough to understand considering I’m soon to become a septuagenarian. In the last several years, a number of health-related issues in my life have cropped up. That seems to have come with the territory.

Okay, so in my quest to try to be and stay active, anything I can do to facilitate that – walking, yard work, just moving in general – for me, best seems to fit the bill.

That’s my story. And, yours?

What I mean by that generally speaking is what kinds of physical activities can the general population engage in that assists in helping them be and stay active? Walking: It doesn’t get any more basic than that.


All throughout the pandemic the public-at-large was really hard-pressed just to get out and about. Many, like me, sheltered in place. This made exercising a more difficult proposition. I’m certain there were many who just improvised. I’m also convinced many others just went and did without. They put on hold, all so-to-speak, extra-curricular physical activities. Gym memberships got suspended, non-essential matters took a definite backseat to those that really mattered like not catching COVID-19, a main preoccupation with nearly everyone, I would have to think.

Okay, so, concerning walking, there is more to this activity than what may be apparent at first glance.

There are considerations like finding one’s stride and groove, what proper gear (equipment, apparel) is needed, and where to walk – what all is involved.

So, let’s discuss, shall we?

Finding one’s – and taking it in – stride

Pace: Right up front, an important part of the exercise is to establish a pace – what is doable. How much walking to do is another. As a form of exercise, if such activity is new, it just may be best to go and take it slow. When ready, the level of difficulty and effort put into it can be increased. The key is to not overexert oneself meaning to not overdo it.

In the – and finding one’s – groove

Finding the right time to walk or to take a walk is different for everyone. It’s up to the individual to decide what’s right for them. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to doing this.

Some prefer to walk during early morning hours, while others may be inclined to engage in the activity at mid-day, say, during lunch time. Whatever works best for a particular person or group is the one they will mostly adopt and adhere to.

Frequency: Also, how often to walk is another consideration to take into account. A couple of times per week, or all seven days, each person will need to determine what best suits them.

Getting in gear

The beauty of walking – besides the fact that it’s easy on the air as far as activities go and it’s one of the easiest to do – is a person can walk and not have to fork out big bucks on gear (in this case footwear) or apparel to be able to do this. I think the thing to keep in mind here is to have or wear shoes which are most conducive to walking while at the same time are easy on the feet and cause the minimum amount of wear and tear. Some people, meanwhile, prefer to wear headphones and listen to music, etc.

A walk in the park … on campus, in place, etc.

Aha! Where to walk is the question. “Do I go around the neighborhood? Walk in the park? Buy a treadmill and walk in place?” All good questions. I suppose a lot of what is done in this regard is decided by weather, what time of the year it is and, depending, what the outside air quality is.

Many places have provisions for just such engagement. Trails are very popular with some. Ideas can even be gotten from watching television. It’s not uncommon in on-air commercials, in tv shows or in movies to see where folks walk. The most common venues for taking a stroll I feel are downtowns or “old-town” districts, parks, shopping malls, college campuses, and on running tracks on school property, to name a few. And, why these venues especially has probably more to do with being apart from vehicle traffic – polluting or otherwise – for health and/or safety reasons. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t people who don’t walk beside it.

Walking: It can do a body – and the air – good!

Keep on trucking!

– Alan Kandel

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2 thoughts on “Running extra: My take on walking and the spaces made for it”

  1. You can’t go wrong walking. It’s basic and we do it every day and should take advantage of the cleaner air at this time of year. Of course, you can always bike, which you did in college from SLO to the Bay Area and back. But that was many years ago and walking, anybody can and should do. But then, you can always take out your karate gi!😜

    • Right you are: it was a long time ago.

      You’re pretty close in terms of your recall about my train/bike trip along California’s central coast. I went with another individual by train from San Luis Obispo to Oakland, loading our bikes onto the baggage car. Once in Oakland we biked to a friend’s apartment of the person I was riding with who lived in Alameda. We stayed there overnight.

      The next day we rode from there to the San Mateo Bridge, but because cyclists and pedestrians were prohibited from crossing to get to the other side of the bay at Foster City, we opted to hitchhike across with our bikes and all, which we did.

      Once across, we biked all the way to Half Moon Bay and then down to what I believe is New Brighton State Beach located south of Santa Cruz where we stayed and camped for the night.

      On day two, we made it all the way to Big Sur. On the third and last day, the longest of the three separate rides, this brought us to San Luis Obispo, very exhausted but much the better off for having taken and making the trip. Those were the days!

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