How to Walk Your Way to Better Health and Make Money!
Why would I walk?
When I was younger I thought walking was just a way to get from one spot to another. I never really thought there were any benefits beyond travel involved with walking. In fact, the only thing I usually associated with walking was boredom.
Well there are a number of benefits the come from walking, some of them are obvious and some not so much.
Just for the health of it
This is one of those obvious benefits of walking, better health. Everything I read tells me I should walk every day. The general rule of thumb seems to be 150 minutes of walking each week. If I only walk 5 days per week, that's only 30 minutes per day. That sounds easy enough.
The truth is, I now do well over 60 minutes a day of walking. I probably average 90 minutes of walking per day. This may sound crazy, but sometimes I really don't notice all of the walking that I do. Walking outside instead of on a track certainly helps, probably because the scenery is always changing and therefore my mind is focused on the cars, houses, people and nature that I am passing by.
A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to fit more exercise into my schedule and life can get pretty busy some days. I decided to incorporate walking. One of the first things I did was download Google Fit because I have an Android phone. For a free app, it works great! I didn't realise how much walking I was already doing on a daily basis. Just walking to and from my car at work, walking around the office and hitting the grocery store really added up. That was easy, just living a normal life with a desk job was giving me a bit of exercise. How much more could I do if I was actually trying to get more fitness in my life? (I have since bought a Samsung Gear S3 to track my fitness and it does a whole lot more)
I strive to walk 10,000 steps a day. The faster I walk, the less time it takes to hit my target.
Better Mental Health
My mother always told me to go outside and play. No surprise, she was right again. Getting outside into nature is one of the best ways to make yourself feel better. Mental health is a big deal for me, so when I get a chance to see some of the natural beauty all around me I take advantage of it. There are 20 official trails in the small city I live in, and that doesn't even include all of the unofficial trails or even neighbourhoods where you can see some pretty great landscapes.
You probably already know that getting outside in the sun will give you some Vitamin D. From my research on the internet, it appears that the sun is the best way to get Vitamin D anyways. Why pay $9 for a bottle of supplements when you can just step outside? I'm not sure if it is the Vitamin D, but I always feel better when I can feel the sun on my skin.
As for mental health, getting out into nature has been proven to make you happy. I know I feel much better after a stroll through a park or down a hiking trail. For me it is like an escape from the rest of the world. I go for a walk a few times a day and I just can't help but look at the trees, the sky, any animals that might pop out. I feel a sense of calm come over me and it relieves any stress I might have, whether that be work or personal. Honestly, when I get back to my desk I feel rejuvenated and I'm able to focus better on what I was doing before I left. All those employers out there should take note, this is probably one of the best things they could invest in for increased productivity. I know a few companies have gone as far as building pathways around their buildings and spent a lot of money on beautiful landscaping. Clearly they are aware of the benefits they will received from a happy work force.
On more than one occasion I have got up and left the office because fellow coworkers were arguing or the tension in the air made for a negative, uncomfortable work environment. And you know what happened? After a 5 or 10 minute walk, checking out the architecture of the older homes and the wonderful gardens and landscaping around the area, I felt better. I had calmed down, I felt relaxed, and in some cases I forgot about why I left in the first place.
People are not meant to be stuck inside buildings all day, breathing in stale air and staring at a computer screen. Pictures of wonderful places and far off lands are helpful, but nothing beats the real thing!
Yes, but how do you make money walking?
Undoubtedly some of you have come to this article wondering how you could make money just by walking. I hope this doesn't disappoint you, I didn't rob a bank or wear any advertisements on my clothes as I walked around the city. I'm sure there are a few ways I was making money, but here are my experiences.
Let's get the most profitable benefit for me out of the way first. I made money from not paying for parking. Now some of you may think I tricked you because I didn't actually receive financial compensation in the traditional way. But I didn't trick you, or at least I didn't mean to. Let me break it down and you can decide.
When I started working at this job over 12 years ago, I had a parking spot not too far away from the office. At that time I found a lot that was only charging $40 per month. That rate lasted for a few months, then things changed and all of the lots started increasing their rates. It was like a competition to see who could charge the most. My parking spot went to $80 a month and I wasn't happy. Soon after that the lot where I was parking decided to build condos and I was left with finding a new spot and the cheapest was now $100 per month. I had enough, I decided to find free parking.
I found some free parking all right, I started parking on the city streets where they allowed vehicles to stay for 2 or 3 hours at a time. Because I worked for 8 hours a day, that meant I had to move my car at least twice each day. No problem there, I could do that every day. Guess what happened, I saved money and I got free exercise at the same time.
Some of you may be thinking "no way, that's cheating". Look at it this way, I have been doing this for 10 years now and moving my car has been a huge part of me getting 10,000 steps a day. How is that for exercise? What about all of the money I saved on parking alone? I was moving my car for 10 years and saving $100 per month. Ten years times 12 months is 120 months. Parking at $100 per month times 120 months is $12,000 in savings. I wish I put that into an investment vehicle of some sort.
Smartphone Apps that Pay
There are a few apps available for your smartphone that can pay you for walking.
StepBet is a motivational app where you put money into a pot with other people. You don't have to beat the other people, you just have to hit your own targets. When you hit your goals, you split the pot with the other people who also hit their goals. https://waybetter.com/stepbet
CARROT Wellness is an app that gives you points for each step you take. When you earn enough points, you can shop right in the app for gift cards! https://carrotwellness.com/
Sweatcoin pays you for walking with digital currency. Again, you can spend your earned coins to purchase things within the app. I'm not so sure if the digital currency thing is for me. https://sweatco.in/
So there you have it, my recipe for better physical health, better mental health, and better financial health. Walking is a low impact exercise that almost anyone can perform. Start out slow and only do what you can handle. Just like me, you will keep increasing the amount of walking and you will be surprised how much you can do over time.
Walking can also put money in your bank, it all depends on how you look at it. You can download an app to your phone that will pay you in actual money, or you can save yourself money on things like parking, fuel, etc.
Would you walk 10 minutes to work in order to save money on parking?
© 2018 Lloyd Dawson