The virtues of walking (and other forms of active transportation) / by The Green Medium

As someone who lives in a cooler climate I can attest to the attractiveness of heated cars and the challenges of getting out the door without racing to a vehicle thats been idle; warming up for the past ten minutes. But I have also come to learn that sometimes the best thing for both yourself and the world around you is to embrace the bitter wind and trudge forth to your destination (whether it be on bike, skies or your own two feet).

Studies have shown that walking 2.4 km would generate less than a quarter of the greenhouse gases that would be emitted if a person drove the same distance. This doesn’t even factor in the extra gas used for heating.  In larger cities like Edmonton, where urban sprawl seems to have no end, joining the growing community of active transportation pushes government groups to rethink how we design and build cities and communities. With the “smart growth” principles becoming more prevalent-which include making cities and communities more compact and relying more on mass transit-in urban areas.

When factoring in health benefits, green transportation looks even better. Aside from physical risks pollution causes by driving such as respiratory problems due to poor air quality, with stress and mental health issues become less taboo and more common. From a personal standpoint, choosing to walk to work, to meet up with friends etc. has helped me combat my own struggles with anxiety and depression. And there is science to back this up as well. Regular exercise helps to release neurotransmitters and endorphins (essentially feel-good brain chemicals) that may ease depression while reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen it. This does not mean it will cure depression or anxiety. Simply that it CAN help push through those tougher days. 

With walking and biking becoming more accessible and city designs adapting to the needs of a growing and increasingly compact community, it's hard not to join in on the movement. And if the distance is too far, too challenging or inaccessible, public transit is just as great; one bus can replace about 50 cars.

-Campion