Walking saves time. Huh? It's true. The Washington Post says so.

People come up with some incredibly creative excuses for not walking: "My feet are in the shop." "I don't want to destroy the delicate first layer of topsoil." "I can't find all my toes." "No thanks, I walked in my sleep last night."

Okay, we admit we don't have good comebacks for any of those. But for the rest of the excuses -- the more common ones you're probably using and that keep you in the high-risk category for just about everything you don't want to happen to you -- we offer the following irresistible rebuttals.


Yeah, right. Do the words "computer solitaire" ring a bell? Just how many "must-see" TV shows do you have on your list this season? How about all that Web surfing for . . . what were you looking for again?

Ah. We thought so.

The important thing to understand regarding walking and time is that, when properly done, walking is actually a time generator, giving back more time than it consumes. We know of nothing else in the universe with this incredible ability.

For starters, walking lets your brain do something else while your body is moving: talk, think, connive, dream, plan, negotiate, work through the budget numbers, relive a vacation, recite epic poetry. Walking is essentially mobile multitasking.

"After millions of years of evolution, we are programmed to think while we walk," says Ellen Vanderslice, president of America Walks, a national coalition of pedestrian advocacy groups. "Walking keeps you organized. It actually puts more time in your day."

(Walking is, however, not compatible with talking on the cell phone. We refuse to provide any cover for those people you see on hiker-biker trails, suburban streets and city crosswalks yakking into the digital tin can like some schizophrenic bond trader. In fact, if you see them, tell them we said to cut it out.)

Then there's the idea that walking time makes the rest of your time more productive. It clears your brain and makes it work better when it's devoted to work later on.

"Walking increases blood flow to your brain," says Wendy Bumgardner, walking guide for and a reformed sofa spud. "Studies show clearer thinking in seniors who walk for exercise versus those who do not. I find that going for a walk, you usually, first, stop thinking about the problems at hand. After a while, you can take up those problems with a fresh perspective and can prioritize them better."

Ron Looper, president of the Chesapeake Bay Country Wanderers, measures the extra time walking provides differently, even cosmically, by looking at the dividends it pays on the back end of life.

"Time is all you have," he reasons, "and walking for exercise probably will help extend your amount of time on earth."

All of which is to say: You don't have time not to walk. Next excuse?

Posted by Jay Cross at October 7, 2002 12:03 AM | TrackBack

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