Most of us are familiar with the many health benefits of choosing to walk more often. Getting out once a day or more improves posture, blood pressure and cardiovascular health. It’s far less stressful on your body than an intensive gym session or going for a run, and more importantly, walking is pleasurable, and of benefit to your mental well-being. But there are also some surprising financial arguments for taking a hike, which can add up to a healthier bank balance.
All those quarters you have been stuffing into the meter add up over time, and recent findings have revealed that the average American family spends $1300 per year on parking, and even more if you factor in driving around looking for a parking spot in major cities. This adds up to more than you’ll spend on the insurance and the maintenance of your vehicle annually, and makes the cost of a pair of hiking trousers and additional walking gear look pretty favorable.
Some employers aim to incentivise healthy behaviors like walking or cycling as part of their workplace wellness programs, in order to counteract the expenditure which has become part and parcel of obesity-related diseases. The risk of diabetes, heart disease, and strokes can be reduced by making a regular walk part of your routine, but if this isn’t enough good news, you might even be paid to walk or cycle to work!
In some circumstances, choosing to walk is a less than practical option, but nurturing every opportunity to stretch your legs could also stretch your fuel budget further. Instead of picking up the kids from school every day in the car, consider walking them home once or twice a week. Nipping out for the Sunday morning papers? Get up half an hour earlier, and seize the health, and fiscal benefits, of walking instead of driving.
Paying a monthly membership for the privilege of tearing up your joints on a treadmill in a sweaty, confined space is not your only fitness option. While some will always extol the virtues of the gym, it might be worth trying a six month period over summer in which you suspend your membership and vow to walk everywhere instead. Be honest with yourself, are you really getting value for money with your membership?
As if the health and financial rewards weren’t significant enough, there are further benefits to walking; from the reduction of your carbon footprints to the increase in house prices in more ‘walkable’ neighborhoods. Resolve to increase the amount you walk today, in the knowledge that it’s likely things will get better in the future because you have.