You Should Walk Wherever You Can. Here's Why

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Millions of Americans are working from home now, and have been since COVID-19 made self-quarantining necessary nationwide and beyond. Someday, however, we're going to live in a recognizable world again, and going back to your workplace might even seem like a treat. Here's one more reason why getting out of the house can improve your life long-term.

City planners at Ohio State University have just published a paper about the difference between a casual stroll and walking with purpose. It might seem like a question of degree rather than quality, but it turns out that choosing a place to go on your feet can improve the benefits you reap from walking overall. "We found that walking for utilitarian purposes significantly improves your health, and that those types of walking trips are easier to bring into your daily routine," said coauthor Gulsah Akar.

Study participants who chose walking over a short drive, whether to work, shopping, or some other activity, rated themselves as healthier and tended to walk faster. "That means going to a gym or a recreation center aren't the only ways to exercise," Akar said. "It's an opportunity to put active minutes into our daily schedules in an easy way."

We already know that walks can help with mental health, although it's also true that it's getting harder and harder for many Americans to live within walking distance of their jobs. No matter what, however you can incorporate walking into your daily routine, you're likely to see some benefit that will add up over time.