Is there anything that a brisk walk cannot fix?
(What a stupid question, you say. Of course there is: the common cold, world poverty, broken legs. The list is endless.)
Well, all right, but it does always surprise me how many things it can cure.
These include, but are not limited to: a bad mood, a stiff back, writer's block, general sluggishness, and a lack of groceries (if your walk is in the direction of the shops).
Research has shown that walking reduces the risk of certain cancers, heart disease and stroke, lowers blood pressure and aids in weight loss. Walking can also alleviate arthritis pain, stave off osteoporosis, improve energy levels and make people happier.
It's like a wonder drug, and it's free. And almost everyone can do it to some degree. Which is more than I can say about running (speaking personally).
It seems that fresh air, a bit of nature (even if it's a lone street tree) and the kind of movement humans were designed for works wonders for our minds and bodies. Who knew? It makes going to the gym look like a waste of time.
What's more, it's a fantastic way to spy on your neighbours. Now, I mainly want to know what sort of plants they're growing in their gardens, but I guess you could tailor it to your own interests.
It's also a really fun way to get to know a new city or town. You learn so much more by putting your feet on the ground than you ever would in a train or car or, heaven forbid, an open-top tourist bus.
Unless you're actually taking your life in your hands by wandering the streets, it's the best thing to do when you get off a plane, combining exercise and sticky-beaking, which is really what travel is all about.
I have a few rules on these wanders, the most important of which is: no maps. Put your phone in your pocket and use your eyes. If you get lost, ask someone (in sign language if necessary) for help.
Also: no backtracking. A circle is so much more interesting than a straight line.
Pounding the pavements is both a curative to most modern ills and a great pleasure. Be sure to put your best foot forward.