By Autumn Moon

At the beginning of quarantine, I felt like I was at a loss. I couldn’t see my friends in person, and I couldn’t go to public places. I felt confined in my house. 

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, I looked forward to going to the gym every day. I’ve always been an active person who genuinely enjoys exercising. Before the pandemic, I was in a consistent routine of working out that I’ve maintained for years. I was worried that if I stopped going to the gym completely, my body would retaliate in the form of a slower metabolism, less sleep and weight gain. It seemed to me that the easiest, and most convenient option, was to start going for walks. This activity killed two birds with one stone: getting fresh air and going outside for a bit, while also getting some exercise.

Every day, I would go for a roughly five-mile walk with my mom or dad. At the beginning of this routine, it would make my body sore, and by the end of the walk, I would be sweating at least a little. Still, though, I felt like walking couldn’t possibly be a sufficient exercise; I was used to spending an hour and a half at the gym, dripping in sweat after leaving.

Even though going to the gym is more vigorous and intensive, I began to see results from walking. Every time that I would go on a walk, my head would feel clearer. I felt fresh, active and, in the truest sense of the word, healthy.

When I came to terms with all these positive feelings, I decided to look into some of the benefits of walking. I was astonished to find that there are so many incredible things walks can do for one’s health. For example, according to Web MD, not only does walking five or more miles a day burn tons of calories and boost your metabolism, but it also has huge cardiovascular benefits — including better heart health and decreased risk of heart attacks. Walking also improves blood pressure, cholesterol levels, decreases the risk of diabetes and obesity and improves mental health in areas like stress and depression.

I have personally experienced the advantages that come from walking every day. While I might not physically feel my heart getting stronger, my stamina has increased, I feel fitter and I certainly feel more at peace mentally. During these hard times, it’s hard to find something to look forward to or enjoy, but every single day when I go for a walk, I feel genuinely happy. 

Walking might seem like an incredibly simple activity, but sometimes simple is what we need when the world around us seems so difficult.