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I Walk: Saves Money and Helps to Lose Weight

Updated on November 2, 2011

Adopting a Walk to Work Every Day Lifestyle

In a world of a disappearing middle class, there's one area I've discovered that separates the strong from the chumps. Regardless of income, the people who are committed to seeing this action through always seem to have money in their bank accounts. While those who scoff at the notion always seem to go broke. The key? Ditch the car and trade it in for a good pair of running sneakers. Walking to and from work is a difficult behaviour to learn in an automobile world, but with practice I have found the experience incredibly rewarding. The fresh air, fitness, and the monumental savings replenish the soul in what is becoming a darker world.

Do You Want Your Income to Increase by 40%?

Of course you want to increase your income by 40%, but the difficult question is just how can you accomplish this feet? You can achieve this goal of increasing your income by 40% by having to spend up to 40% less. Perhaps you're wondering how it's remotely possible to spend up to 40% less; the answer lies in getting rid of the money pit sitting on your driveway.

Now it's time for a confession; I haven't owned a car for up to four years. I do have a license; and it's actually a higher class license that allows me to drive small semi trucks, but I currently don't own a vehicle. As a young man, I've had to swallow a lot of pride (and lose a lot of potential dates) to pick up this lifestyle, but it's well worth it. In fact, I love to walk and go outside; I can't imagine doing anything else.

It's estimated that the average person spends approximately 30% of their income on transportation related costs. If you could, hypothetically, walk to and from work that would cut 30% of your expenses right there. Think of all the money you spend on car insurance, gasoline, the wholesale value of the car, maintenance, etc. However, the savings don't stop there. . .

It's estimated that each person spends an average of 10% of their income on fitness and recreation. Seeing that you're walking to and from work, I would say you have that area covered. After all, it's not like you need money for a gym pass. In addition, you're healthier and your metabolism is higher. So feel free to cut some expenses on health care and food as well. Considering all the following circumstances, it isn't a stretch to suggest you can save up to 50% of your income by simply choosing to walk to and from work; with 40% being easily a conservative estimate.

90% Mental and Only 10% Physical

Walking to and from work is such a winning move, not only financially, but also spiritually, politically, and for your health. You can stick it politically to the nasty oil companies who right now are causing wars for oil. You can claim you're doing your part for the environment, unlike the pretender "climate scientists" who get to work in gas guzzling vehicles, who truly only care about getting a pay check. With all the savings you'll certainly amass, hopefully you'll be in a position to actually back up what you preach when you wish to abolish the Ponzi scheme that's the Canadian Pension Plan.

The biggest obstacle that people have is in thinking it's too good to be true. . . Walking to work is sort of seen as a luxury for the well-heeled. I admit that at first I thought much the same. I believed that walking to work was strictly reserved for the wealthy who own luxury condominiums in the downtown area. A poor smuck like me must either take a dreaded commute or take the bus on what's an ever growing abysmal transportation system that costs only seem to go up; while quality continuously goes down.

To this end; I will have to say that the "car economy" has skewed our perceptions of what is indeed possible or impossible. Our mental calculators that are used to determine time and distance when it comes to simply walking or biking are underestimating our capabilities. This is what I learned the hard way. Before writing off a location as possibly "too far away to walk," I recommend that as unlikely as it may at first seem; that you give it an honest attempt. You may surprise yourself. I for one can walk to any area in a 10 kilometer radius in around an hour. Trust me, it's doable, and it can be loads of fun. Sure beats wasting time watching television.

When you first start walking, you'll conclude perhaps that it takes too long. However, you will get better. The blisters on your feet do go away with time; and you can adapt. When I first started it took me an hour and forty five minutes to walk to work at an estimated distance of 10 kilometers. Today, it takes me just a few minutes above an hour.

If you can't find a job within a 10 kilometer radius of where you're living, even in a downed economy, you need to seriously consider relocating. Trust me, you can find a job. The brilliance of the matter is that you don't have to worry too much about the pay, because you're planning on saving 40% of your income. Your stress levels will go down and you'll become more care free. The good news is that usually companies tend to promote people who demonstrate such attributes. So the bad job will become a good job. Be careful though, don't fall into the trap of feeling you can now buy a car with the subsequent raise. Remember what brought you there in the first place. Keep on saving. . .

In addition, there is a lot of stigma against people walking. Our cities are not built for walkers and you may find yourself walking in areas that will raise a few eyebrows. Usually a smile and a nod, while simply continuing to walk on your merry way, does the trick. When you walk, you must exude a posture of confidence, otherwise people may see you as poor and vulnerable. While this may come across as superficial, believe me that it's necessary for both your mental sanity and personal safety. In order to reach your destination efficiently when walking, you may have to take short cuts through certain parts of the neighbourhood that are infamously known. You will be able to survive by remaining fearless. As you become accustomed to taking on such fears and xenophobia of certain neighbourhoods, your confidence will only build. You'll also feel more comfortable talking to people you're normally not accustomed to speaking with; improving your emotional intelligence. You will also familiarize yourself with the area you live in. You will know the area like the back of your hand, a skill that will one day certainly come in handy. You can make your walks more entertaining each and every day by taking different secondary streets and seeing the layouts of different neighbourhoods.

Often, the only reason why many people don't elect to walk to work is due to mental barriers that are strictly in their heads. The most important aspect is to simply get started and to surprise you. For starters, master walking from work first, so you don't have to worry about being late. Once you know all the routes and have built a steady walking pace; only then can you brave walking both to and from work.

You Don't Have to be a Superstar. . .

Although I spend around two hours out of five days a week walking; I'm not athletic by any means. All my friends would attest to my hopeless coordination and inability to play any sports competitively. My diet is actually horrible (working on it); and I could even be classified as "mildly overweight." Just remember to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day; water is without a doubt your best friend. As I said earlier, it's 90% mental and only 10% physical. Looking at me, many would find it hard to believe I could manage to walk for even an hour; let alone two hours every single weekday.

Never let the terrain deter you. I wasn't handed a lucky map by any means. Anyone who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, will tell you that the public transportation is anaemic. We by far carry the highest percentage of cars per family in Canada. Our streets are often narrow, filled with pot holes, and congested. The weather is volatile. We're foggy, rainy, snowy, windy, too hot, too cold, too humid, etc. Halifax is the only city in the world that a September day can be as hot and dry as Arizona one day; and then Alaska the next. There are so many hills I have to scale putting so much strain on my knees. I don't live close to where I work at all; in fact I have to literally cross the entire city. In Halifax, the motorists feel pedestrians shouldn't exist. Our entire city is built around the automobile and some parts of town you would be lucky to even see a sidewalk. Many cars even park themselves on the sidewalk; I could go on and on. . . The city isn't for the faint of heart walker by any means; still I've been able to persist. Walking has made a big difference in my life. . .

-Donovan D. Westhaver

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