Walking is better for my health, as is the view

In my 20s and 30s, in addition to relying on public transportation to get around, I did a lot of walking. I briefly owned a couple of cars at different times, but they were, for the most part, older and often in disrepair. Plus, I mostly worked in retail back then, so I was on my feet most of the day.

Then in 2001, two events happened that changed my life: I moved from retail work to a desk job, and I got a reliable car that was only five years old.

Thus began my shift to the sedentary lifestyle. While my ability to travel expanded and I could go places that didn’t require extensive planning on how to get there by bus, railway or hitching a ride, I also gained weight as I became less physically active. That’s how my get-up-and-go got up and went.

The COVID shutdown certainly didn’t help matters as I was encouraged by various news sources and public service advisories to stay home.

Looking back, I wish I had started doing DoorDash a few years earlier. Still, when I started transporting meals and groceries to people’s homes in late 2022, it helped keep me in better shape. Even though I was driving, I was at least walking to the customers’ doors, sometimes carrying loads of groceries up flights of stairs. So many stairs.

Now that I’m here in Wrangell sans any motor vehicles, I’ve been walking everywhere — to the office, to report on stories and conduct interviews, to shop at the supermarket, to visit the library or just to explore. There have been quite a few challenging hills that have left me out of breath, but I go up them just the same. I’ve got places to be.

The health app on my phone regularly informs me that I’m burning more calories and walking more steps than I did last year, the digital equivalent of a thumbs up or “Good job, buddy!”

When I first visited this town in September, I took great pleasure in walking to the shore to watch the sunset. I still enjoy doing that.

Another benefit of moving here is that, so far, I’m not suffering from the allergies that were becoming a real nuisance where I lived in Silver Spring, Maryland. There’s no ragweed or other kinds of pollen common to that region that give me hay fever and trigger my asthma. Now it’s just the spectacular views that take my breath away.

All in all, I’d say that moving to Wrangell has been good for my health.


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