No Excuses by Shinji Pons
Walking will make you live longer. What better recommendation than that? It strengthens the heart, lowers the risk of asthma, of diabetes, of cancer, it helps you lose weight, it tones your muscles, and it makes you happy. But it does far more than just improve your health, it changes the way you see the world.
Testimonies abound. Ancient Greek philosophers used to walk in order to think. In nineteenth century France, flaneurs strolled the Parisian boulevards, indulging in an act described by Balzac as “the gastronomy of the eye,” one that they claimed to be akin to a moving photograph, a unique way of experiencing the urban landscape. It was a feast Charles Dickens was keen to indulge in on our own British shores. Although far from a flaneur, he regularly walked the streets of London. And he was no half-hearted stroller, distances of up to twenty miles were common as he immersed himself in the sights, smells, and sounds of a heaving imperial city that his novels would later reproduce.
So follow in their hallowed footsteps. Plug out, escape your sterile office, your familiar sitting-room sofa, the warm comfort of your home, and embrace life – look at the world in a new light. After all, what is your excuse not to?
What you can do: Just choose to walk instead. But if you need a bit of help WalkIt is a wonderful website and app giving you walking routes through many British cities. Take the less busy route, or use WalkIt to design a perfectly timed circular lunchtime stroll to go exploring.