In Praise of walking

By Vita Forest

Boardwalk in Merimbula

Boardwalk in Merimbula

Last weekend a bunch of us did a big walk from Manly to North Head and back.  I’ll write another post about it soon, but chatting with my old high school friends reminded me of some reasons why I love to walk.

  • It is invigorating.  While at high school, some of us used to walk to and from school each day, despite the existence of perfectly adequate school buses.  While our friends would arrive at the school gates woolly-headed after a night of study, we would be alert and awake after our forty-five minute walk.  Walking helped us to lighten up, particularly as you could catch a long silver slide down a hill as part of the route.   Usually while singing show tunes.
  • It’s slow.  In this fast, fast world, how lovely it is to slow down and smell the roses (something I literally did last night as I walked past someone’s garden – it was a white bloom hanging over the fence and bouncing in the breeze).
  • It’s free!  One of my high school friends walks as her main form of exercise.  No gym fees for her.  This is part of our heritage from those school days (possibly more so than what we learned in the classroom).
  • It’s how you learn about a place.  It’s so easy when walking to take detours, to connect the dots, to see how one place fits with another.  A few weeks back, Saskia and I plotted out Broadway, Chippendale and Surry Hills, all on foot.
  • You usually don’t need to shower after it.  Which made it a good way to break up the day when I used to be an office worker.  I would head out at lunch with (I’m seeing a trend here) some high school friends and we would walk through the Botanical Gardens before heading back to our workplaces with merely a light glow on our faces.
  • It’s a good way to relieve stress.  A few years ago when my life was in turmoil and I had to make some hard decisions, I became a true power walker.  I strode up and down hills, over bush tracks, along city streets.  Along the way I clarified what I needed to do.  I remember thinking that this was a crossroads – I could either walk out my troubles or turn to drink or drugs.  I chose to use those two things at the end of my legs.

So walking remains an important part of life.  Hopefully our children might feel the same way someday…

Have you ever had a walking adventure?


4 thoughts on “In Praise of walking

  1. Jonno says:

    Hi, good article. Really agree on everything you have said about walking, it’s so underrated by everyone especially for exercise and for reliving stress. And it truly is the best way to see a new place. Currently in Sydney as part of our little JWalking trip ( and plan to do the Manly to North Head walk at the weekend so fingers crossed the weathers ok.


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