Just One More Reason to Walk!

As if you needed another reason to walk! First of all, it’s so much fun! Also, it’s great for your heart, your muscles, your metabolism, keeping you energized, relieving stress… we could go on. However, if you need a reason that departs from the norm, we’ve got one: it might save your life if disaster strikes!

A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), has concluded that walking to higher ground at a speed of 3.4 miles per hour—rather than 2.5 miles per hour—in the event of a major tsunami could save thousands of lives.

The study authors explained:

“During the last decade, tsunamis have killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed coastal communities throughout the world. Geologic evidence of past events and geophysical models of potential sources suggest that many communities face substantial tsunami hazards.”

The study focused on a 700-mile stretch of the American Pacific Northwest, ranging from Washington south along the coast to California. Along this stretch, communities considered “high-risk” for tsunamis were analysed. Specifically, they were analyzed for their likelihood of being affected by a major natural disaster known as a Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake.

As far as how many Americans may be affected if such an earthquake did occur, the researchers came up with 94,872. That’s no small number.

walk outsideHowever, walking to safety at a speed of 3.4 miles per hour rather than the slower pace of 2.5 miles per hour was projected to potentially save just under 5,600 lives. As lead author Nathan Wood put it, “Just by getting people to move faster, you can save thousands of lives.”

It stands to reason that if you live in the Pacific Northwest, you may just benefit from picking up your walking pace! Of course, we all could, as well! How to do it? Practice, practice, practice! The more you walk, the more you can comfortably pick up your speed, until a more rapid pace comes naturally.

If you’re still of the mindset that walking is boring, you couldn’t be more wrong! If the activity in itself doesn’t thrill you, the following are a few ways to make it more enjoyable:

  • Walk among nature, and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells all around you. There’s nothing that can boost your spirits quite like a good nature walk.
  • Grab your headphones and iPod and put on your favorite music. If you’re trying to up your pace, pick something with a rapid, steady beat.
  • Walk with friends and family members. You could even have a “walking race”!
  • Walk to a friend or family member’s house! Bonus points if they live across town and you get a good long walk in the process.
  • Go sightseeing, or pick certain landmarks around your hometown to walk to. However, remember that it’s more about the journey than the destination!

The best thing about walking? All you really need are your own two feet! What are you waiting for?

-The Alternative Daily


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