10 Smart Ways to Use Walking to Help Planet Earth

Walking for 30 to 60 minutes each day is one of the best things you can do for your body, mind, and spirit. It is also a way to be kind to the environment and connect with Planet Earth. Here are ways that you can use walking to reduce, reuse and recycle.


Reduce Your Carbon Footprint With a Daily Walk vs. Drive

Woman Brisk Walking Central Park Reservoir - Green
SelectStock/Vetta/Getty Images

Reduce! If you take a walk for the minimum daily requirement suggested for good health - 60 minutes per day - you will cover about 3 miles. If you use that walk to eliminate a car trip, you have saved 2 kilograms of carbon emissions. Over the course of a year, that's 730 kg just by doing what you should be doing to keep your body healthy instead of driving. Also, time spent walking is less time spent using electricity, heat, and air conditioning, unless you are doing it on a treadmill in front of the TV.


Use a Refillable Water Bottle

Drinking Water from Water Bottle
Drinking from Water Bottle. Dave and Les Jacobs/Blend Images/Getty Images

Reuse! Bottled water bottles are a huge strain on the waste management and recycling systems. Don't use it once and toss it. Buy a good quality water bottle and refill it. Don't be afraid of tap water—use a water filter if you don't like the chlorine taste. Or get a home water cooler that uses refillable 5-gallon water bottles of spring water.


Recycle Your Walking Shoes and Gadgets

Pile of Walking Shoes
Pile of Walking Shoes for Recycling. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Recycle! Do you have a drawer full of unused, dead or outdated gadgets? You can reuse, recycle or resell them. Walking shoes have a lifespan of about 500 miles, by which time they have lost their cushioning and support. You wear them at your own risk of injury such as plantar fasciitis. Don't keep more than one old pair around for gardening, put your old shoes to work as basketball courts and running tracks. Nike collects and recycles old walking and running shoes at locations around the world. Nike is also at work to create a completely recyclable shoe.


Find the Great Walks in Your Neighborhood

Planning a Walking Route
Planning a Walking Route. Wendy Bumgardner

Reduce! If you haven't explored your own neighborhood on foot, you may not know how walkable or unwalkable it is. You can use an online mapping tool to find, measure and map walking routes right where you live. You can view your area as a map or satellite view or combo so you can spot the better places to enjoy walking. Don't drive to the gym—walk there or find a walk in your area to replace that trip to the gym.


Make Your Own Walking Snacks

Trail Mix
Trail Mix. Nancy Nehring/E+/Getty Images

Reduce and Reuse! If you make your own trail mix from the bulk foods section of your store, you reduce all of the individual packaging and processing of energy bars and get fewer additives. Carry it in a refillable container rather than disposable plastic bags. You can also make your own sports drinks to put into your refillable water bottle.


Walk Off Weight and be Less of a Burden to the Planet

Overweight on the Scale
Overweight on the Scale. Don Bayley/E+/Getty Images

Reduce! Exercise such as walking is an important part of any weight loss program. You must still watch how much you eat in order to lose weight. But walking helps you build healthy lean muscle, lose inches of fat, and pump up your metabolism. If you eat less and weigh less, you cost the planet less energy to support you and transport you.


Walking Reduces Risk of Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes

Women walking in pink shirts at breast cancer walk
Women Walking. Kali Nine LLC/Vetta/Getty Images

Reduce! Study after study has shown that walking and exercise reduces your risk of many major diseases. Preventing a major illness creates significant savings for the environment—you aren't driving to the clinic or pharmacy or taking up a hospital bed or nursing home bed. You aren't using up sterile medical supplies or expensively manufactured drugs. Give yourself 30-60 minutes a day of brisk walking as one of the best bets to prevent major illness.


Walk Through Your Vacations

Guided Walking Tour - Reichsburg Castle, Cochem, Germany
Guided Walking Tour - Reichsburg Castle, Cochem, Germany. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Reduce! I love traveling, even though air travel adds a lot of emissions. One way I offset it is by making walking at my destination a focus of my travel. I rarely rent a car upon arrival. Instead, I have already selected a hotel convenient to public transportation and planned out my walking routes to see the best of the new locale.


Walking Boosts Your Brain Power

Senior couple powerwalking
BreBa / Getty Images

Reuse! Many studies are showing that walking and exercise can help keep your mind clear and enhance your thinking abilities as well as your mood. Happy, clear thinking people can make better decisions for the future of the planet. Use and reuse your brain to find ways to help your own health and the health of the planet.


It's Easy to Get Started Walking

Three young women walking - Getty
Sam Edwards/OJO Images/Getty

All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes and to get yourself out the door or onto the treadmill. You can reap the benefits of walking from doing several shorter walks or one longer walk during the day. To get you on the right foot, this easy tutorial shows you how to walk with good posture and how to increase your walking time each day.

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