We all know the mantra by now: If you want to lose weight or prevent weight gain, you have to exercise along with eating healthfully. What kind of exercise? Why walking, of course. Your doctor mumbles something about walking three or four times a week while writing out the requisitions for lab tests at the conclusion of your annual physical. You want to ask how you are going to manage to do this under the blazing sun and humidity of the summer, or the dark, cold, icy, snowy days of winter, or on leaf-slick sidewalks after a November rainstorm. Or, if you can get another question in before being ushered out of the office, where are you going to walk since you live in a neighborhood without sidewalks?

Many cities or older suburban communities usually have sidewalks. They may not be free of snow in the winter, and cracked and jagged from old tree roots pushing up the pavement, but at least residents don’t have to walk on the road. But this is not the case in many parts of the country where sidewalks and residential areas often part ways. If walking is to be done, it has to be on roads that often have no shoulders where one can stand to avoid being hit by a delivery truck or a mammoth SUV. If the side of the road has dense vegetation or rocks, even standing there may be perilous since there is little space for one’s feet. More than once, I have stayed at a hotel /convention center for meetings in a suburban industrial park and have been forced to walk or run on highways with sand and pebbles flying in my face from passing trailer trucks. And although some suburban communities, often gated, have roads relatively free of traffic, the mind-numbing effect of walking round and round streets with only houses and not a store in sight is enough to send one inside.

Walking is the easiest, most convenient, and least expensive way to exercise, and there is data to support the notion that those who walk most may be the healthiest. [1] New Yorkers are supposed to be the fastest walkers in the country and may be among the healthiest. Today, the life expectancy of a baby born in New York is 80.9 years, which is 2.2 years more than the national average. [2] Of course, these city residents don’t walk just for the exercise; it is often the most efficient and even fastest way for them to go from point A to point B.

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Source: Huffpost Healthy Living

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