Here’s Your New Year’s Resolution: Go Out and Walk More

how to walk

You don’t have to do any of these things.

New Year’s Resolutions are so hard to come up with. But luckily I have one for you, and no matter who you are, with very few exceptions, it’s a good one.

In 2016, walk more.

Walking is a great thing to do, good exercise, calming, relaxing, and it connects you with the places and people around you. When you walk more, you have more time to experience your environment at a pace that allows for reflection and observation. It’s by far the easiest way to get exercise, and just about everyone can do it without much equipment other than shoes and some clothing.

Seasonal walking

sidewalk-in-fallWalk more in the winter. Maybe get some “yak trax” if it’s icy, or some boots if it’s snowy. But if you wear a warm coat and a decent hat, you’ll find you can enjoy walks in all but the worst winter weather. Walking in the winter is a great way to see more things (because leaves are gone from trees) and to experience the beauty that comes with colorlessness. Snow on things is beautiful. The world is quieter, and it’s easier to hear your own breathing.

Walk more in the spring. It might be a bit muddy, but the signs of increasing life all around you are amazing to notice. Enjoy walking as the light slowly grows over the land. Notice the movements of the sun as it lingers longer in the corners of the sky. Savor the first moment when you walk without your coat, the first feeling of the sun on your forgotten skin.

Walk more in the summer. What better way to appreciate the city than a long walk through the heat, enjoying the people, scents, sounds, and sidewalks all around you. Walk in the park. Walk down the street. Run into people you might know underneath an awning. Savor sweat. Walk with ice cream.

Walk more in the fall. The feel of crunchy leaves under your feet, the slowing of the frantic warmth. This is a great time to walk, and to appreciate the way that the world changes all the time, all around you. Watch for decorative gourds. Experience the thousands of things connected to the place where you live. Walk South with the birds, then turn around.

Some tips for walking more

grand-ave-sidewalkWalk around your neighborhood. A half-hour walk to and from a nearby store or restaurant is a great way to bookend a community experience. Every meal or errand is improved by walking more.

Stop fretting about getting the closest parking space. One easy way to walk more is to simply take the first parking spot you see, and enjoy a 5-minute stroll to your destination. Time spent out of the frustrating car is time well-spent walking more.

Get a dog, or pretend you have a dog. If you have a dog, chances are you’re walking already. If you love your dog, walk more. Your dog will thank you. Alternately, get a dog. Or imagine you have a dog, and walk it.

Get a walking buddy. Conversations are improved by walking, and walking is improved by conversation. Talk more, walk more.

Make it an adventure. Set yourself a crazy goal and walk there. (See these examples.)

Hold hands.

Sometimes people ask me: Who can walk more?

Old people, young people, fat people, thin people, rich people, poor people, lonely people, stressed out people, families, single people, and more kinds of people can all enjoy the benefits of walking more.

Walk slowly or walk quickly, but try it out in 2016, the New Year.


You can walk with a hat, or without one.


Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.