photo of a city street with buildings on either side

Walking to All My Classes for a Month: Reflection

I challenged myself to walk to and from classes for an entire month, and it has been a transformative experience. This subtle lifestyle change brought me many unexpected benefits to both my mental and physical health. What encouraged me to make a commitment to incorporate this "low commitment" form of exercise into my daily routine was a practical need. As school got more intense, finding time for exercise became harder. Yet, this simple decision to embark on a 25-minute walk to my classes has opened up a new avenue for wellbeing and productivity.

The Physical Health Benefits
I was already aware that the physical benefits of walking are well documented, but experiencing these changes firsthand has been very rewarding. Initially, the thought of walking in the cold for 25 minutes seemed daunting. However, this daily activity quickly became something I looked forward to. The rhythmic feeling of walking, the fresh air — as fresh as Toronto air can get — and the changing scenery acted as a stress reliever for me. I found that I was having better night's rest by the end of the day, but was also more alert after walking to class.

Also, my commitment to walking introduced a consistency in physical activity that I previously didn't have. Instead of sporadic, intense workouts that I always found hard to maintain, walking to classes became a sustainable, daily exercise routine.

Photo of people walking down a street

The Mental Health and Energy Boost
The impact of walking on my mental health was even more than the physical benefits. My walk to and from classes became a time for me to mentally prepare and decompress. In the mornings, the walk was my form of meditating before the day became hectic. The physical movement helped clear my head, fostering a sense of calmness that made me ready to engage with the day's lessons.

After classes, the walk back home became a sort of decompression ritual for me. It allowed me to reflect on the day, what I learned, process any stress, and gradually leave my academic pressures behind before I got home.

Interestingly, my daily walking routine forced me to make more time to get to class by going to bed a bit earlier, leading to me having higher energy levels during classes. Instead of arriving to class feeling rushed or lethargic, making time to take a walk ensured that I arrived invigorated and alert. The increase in blood flow I got from my gentle exercise seemed to prepare my brain for learning, making it easier to concentrate and participate actively in class discussions.

A New Perspective
Apart from the immediate benefits to my physical and mental health, walking to and from classes for a month has given me a new perspective. It highlighted the importance of integrating physical activity into daily routines, not just as a separate or special task, but as an integral part of living a balanced life. This experience underscored the fact that taking care of my body and mind is not just about finding time for exercise but about making activities like these a natural and enjoyable part of my everyday life.

Overall, walking has taught me the importance of slowing down sometimes and appreciating the journey itself. It has now become a valued part of my daily routine that I plan to sustain well beyond this initial month-long commitment.

– Crystal <3