A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

When is the last time you walked?

This post is going to be part Buddhist, part health, part fitness, part environment, and a dash of this and that. I need to state this is from someone who lives in a country where the car is still considered the only civilized method of getting around, I will let you decide if it applies to where you live or even yourself. As Buddhists we learn to practice walking meditation, as well as silent and chanting. Many people here join a gym and power walk on a treadmill, this after they drove to the gym. Others stroll along the seawall here in Vancouver. Search Vancouver seawall, but I’m not responsible if you decide you must visit here, to experience it in person ūüôā ¬† But when it comes to getting around the order for most is car, then public transit, bike, and lastly walk. Unless you have a¬†physically active job, you probably spend a large part of you day at the desk. Do you take regular stretch breaks, at lunch is it downstairs to the cafe in your office building? When was the last time you walked 1km to do an errand? The average human walks at about 5km/hour so even in a city that km walk should be less than 20 minutes, with lights and dodging other people. Contrast this to going to the parkade, hoping in you car, add the time it takes to get out onto the street. If you have one ways downtown chances are at some point your circling the block. Lights add delays, then its find that elusive parking spot, fumble for change for the meter, or pay a couple of dollars for a quick in and out visit. Walk to the place your going, then repeat to get back to the office. Total time about the same, and if you hit heavy traffic, maybe longer than walking. Sitting in your car you burn about 88 calories/hour driving, walking you will use Walking at 5km the same person would use about 230. Now I will leave the carbon footprint of each activity out, but if your curious, I’m sure you can find out. At home need a quart of milk, and the store is only a couple of blocks, walk it, and take along 1 reusable shopping bag. One bag means less impulse items will fit, as if your like me you never get only the one item you went for. However I am buying less, and eating less processed foods. So you with two quick trips you just burned off an extra 300 calories, used a litre or two less fuel, and left the air we breathe in a cleaner state then if you had drove. Now if you actually are in the moment, while walking you may run into an old friend, or if your single, you never know who you might¬†bump¬†into, maybe that almost perfect person is just around the corner. I know some who practice a silent chanting while they walk, however if you are new to chanting while walking, or have forgotten your walking skills, as in watching for lights, posts, cars, maybe just concentrate on getting to where you are going for now. The little extra¬†exercise¬†will be good for your body, and that is something we are to be¬†mindful¬†of as Buddhists. Your not harming others with¬†unnecessary¬†pollution. You may have the chance to help an elderly person across the street. So why are you still reading this, you should be putting on your shoes, and walking¬†some place. Metta


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