Does walking give you pleasure? It improves your circulation; it strengthens your bones. It even leads to a longer life. According to author Daniell Ariely, you might still answer “no” to that question because, he claims, pleasure is usually thought of as momentary and usually connects to things like sitting on the beach drinking mojitos.
“The interesting thing is if you look at the things that are worthwhile over a long period of time,” he explains in an interview with BlueZonesProject.com, “they are rarely the same. So, if you ask people what they have done that gave them real pleasure, people rarely say, ‘I sat for a whole month on the beach drinking while I watched [TV] for three years.’ They say things like, ‘I ran a marathon,’ or ‘I wrote a book’ or ‘I learned something new.’ Short-term pleasure is fun to have a little bit, but if you try to have a lot of it you actually don’t have true pleasure.”
For something so natural, walking is now being touted as “a wonder drug” according to Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So how can you combine the idea of walking for all of its many sometimes surprising benefits but add that to something that brings you real pleasure? Here are some ideas to get you started for the new year:
- Start walking meetings at your workplace. Make it a norm!
- Create a neighborhood walking school bus so your children get the benefits of walking regularly. Contact your local SHIP Coordinator for resources.
- Sign up and do a benefit walk. There are many in the Northland like the Step Out and Walk to Stop Diabetes in March or The Breath of Hope put on by the Lung Foundation or the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. This spring we’re sure to hear about many more.
While regular walking will keep you feeling good mentally and physically, spreading the joy will give you a sense of real pleasure and accomplishment.