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People On Foot

Why walk? America Walks answers the question

Why WalkingWhy Walk? Well to best answer that question, America Walks hosted a webinar on June 18 by the same name with speakers Jonathon Stalls, founder of Walk2Connect and Jim Stone, biologist and executive director of Circulate San Diego. But to answer that question, it may be best to first start with American’s love of cars and the impact it is having. Cars needs roads and roads allow us to spread out, urban sprawl. Implications of sprawl is the loss of habitat – about 6,000 acres of open space that is lost every day because of sprawl. It’s a big number. And driving takes fuel, which contributes to more habitat loss, (need to get that fuel somewhere). Aside from the environment, this hurts people too, specifically our waistlines. Obesity leads to diabetes, which leads to other conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular disease/stroke, asthma. Which all in turn are increasing the medical costs in the country. That stuff coming out of the tailpipes, like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, etc., also isn’t helping the environment. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and extreme weather events have doubled in the past 10 years.

Ok, enough bad news. That obviously showed what happens when you don’t walk. So here’s what walking can do for us. Walkable communities lead to higher property values – 5 to 8 percent greater than property in non-walkable communities. Walkable communities have more a profitable retail environment, less noise pollution, lower greenhouse gas emissions (because less people are driving), less air pollution, lower healthcare costs and most importantly healthier and happier people.

Walking can also help to connect us … To others …. To place …. To self. Walking with a friend or just passing people in the neighborhood during a walk connects you with people you otherwise would not connect with if you were in a car. It connects you to your built environment and the details of your community – the place where you live, work and play. And then there’s yourself – our mental stress and whole body profile.

What are some ways to walk more? Well, take work meetings by foot or commit to meet up with family and friends for a walk to catch up and resolve conflicts. Both are ways to better connect and better walk.

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