As stay-at-home orders have been in place for over a month now in the New York area, it has become difficult for all people to stay mobile in their homes. While many have found solutions to their antsy behavior, some instead still find the comfort of Netflix and their bed the only resort. However, as the temperature seems to be rising as COVID-19 cases are dropping, people have been finding their way into the sunlight for the first time in a while. I have been taking advantage of the beautiful warmth by walking in my very small town.
Now while I have lived in my tiny New Jersey residence for the full 22 years of my life, I have never taken advantage of just walking around. This summer I started walking around the park down the street from my house. However, the town was never something I willingly walked through. In the past, I only walked there if I had no option of using a car or if I was going out for the night. All parks in New Jersey are closed for the time being anyway. With my increased built-up energy striving to be released, I decided to take advantage of the situation and walk around my very tiny, everybody-knows-everybody, town.
Surprisingly, on these walks, I have begun to notice the little things about my town that make it, well, very beautiful. First off, this town is a lot bigger when you actually take in every single street and every small step. I walk past all of the schools that have made me the young woman I am today; I reminisce on the time I’ve spent there longing to leave, only to wish I could be back in that innocent mindset.
There are a lot more people that you don’t know when you assumed that you knew every face. All of my friends from previous schooling live within that walking distance so I have been stopping by their houses, as they sit on the steps and I stand on the sidewalk six feet away. It has made me realize how fortunate I am to see my friends, even if from afar. At the same time, it’s given me an appreciation for my friends, not that I lacked, but I had forgotten with due time. I have had relationships with some of these people and to know that they live so close, yet so far as we are not in the same living quarters. Because of this reasonable dilemma, we are unable to enjoy our time together.
These walks have allowed me to reflect on not only on the relationships I cherish, but also on life itself. Every day is a new reflection; they have ranged from What will I do after college ends? Where will my career path take me? One of the major aspects that I have begun to analyze on these therapeutic walks includes my emotions and thoughts surrounding my college career ending three months too early. Walking has allowed me to cope with the surrounding events and disruption of my world.
And while some people might have some concerns about walking the streets, the health benefits outweigh the small risks. According to USA Today, there are many health benefits that come from the simple action of walking. For starters, walking allows for an increase in heart rate, resulting in an overall healthier heart. The act of walking also is cause for a better mood. Not only does it allow for a person to get their mind off of certain thoughts, sunlight has been found to decrease poor moods, seasonal affective disorder, and even depression. As someone who has frequent bouts of anxiety, I have found these walks better my mood drastically, allowing me to not lay in my bed all day drowning in negativity.
Overall, walking has made me feel much better health-wise. My productivity has increased tenfold, forcing me to feel the need to always be doing something. While walking has been extremely helpful to me, it is an activity that every person should participate in. The health benefits, both physical and mental, outweigh the negative. Every person, if they are able to, should take a walk. They might be able to notice the little things about their area, or reflect on their life as a whole.
And as I finish writing this piece, my dad interrupts me and asks how long until we can go on our walk, to which I say right now!