Walk. Repeat.

Strolling past a church. East Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia. August 2019.

This morning we left Halifax to start the roughly 1,500 km drive back to our home in Ottawa. With no hotel booked, we hit the road at 7:30 intending to see how far we could make it. I thought we could make the entire drive in one go, but alas I tired sometime after Edmundston, New Brunswick, and we decided to book a room in the town of Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, roughly 800 km from our point of origin, to spend the night. That leaves a little less than half of the drive remaining tomorrow.

As expected, there’s been long bouts of sitting on this roadtrip. Today’s drive alone kept us cooped up in our car for over eight hours. As a result, we’ve made a conscious effort throughout the two weeks to walk whenever the opportunity presented itself. Whether taking a quick stroll at a bathroom stop along Highway 2, choosing to walk to dinner from our Airbnb, or the more ambitious attempt to trek home at 2 AM from the wedding we attended on Saturday; when walking was an option, we exercised it.

This trip reminded me how amazing walking can be for recovery. After the recent squat session at the GoodLife in Halifax, followed by hours of dancing at the wedding, and countless hours cramped up in a car, my legs were feeling stiff and sore. Luckily, the cure was simple and cheap; frequent, light walking.

Walking does wonders to relieve the soreness brought on by higher than normal activity. For me personally, short, frequent walks are the quickest way to reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) from – as an example – overreaching on a squat day. And all this to say nothing of the mental benefits a peaceful stroll can elicit.

Do you ever notice the groups of elderly folks, often with entire families, including little children, walking in the evening? Usually just after dinner time? I’ll often notice in some neighborhoods, particularly those with larger immigrant populations from South and South East Asia, the regular practice of taking a leisurely stroll in the evening. I can’t help but imagine some of these families are just continuing what their parents, and parents before them, have been doing for generations.

Maybe they’re on to something? We know walking can help with digestion following a meal, and there’s evidence to suggest light activity following a meal can help reduce blood glucose. And it certainly helps me reduce soreness in fatigued leg muscles. Plus, if a grandmother is doing it, it’s probably good. Just saying.

This ancient, and deceptively benign, activity has powerful benefits. Avoid it at your peril.

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