Community & Current Events

6 ways to start walking in your neighbourhood

©iStockphoto.com/digitalskillet Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/digitalskillet

Community & Current Events

6 ways to start walking in your neighbourhood

Imagine the street your mother told you never to walk down at night: Dripping pipes, shadowy corners and exhaust vents spewing fog. During a midnight tour of Vancouver's notorious east side, we walked that street. Known as a SLAP tour, this walk explores the forgotten underside of Canada's poorest neighbourhood where we met addicts, drug dealers and street workers. One teen said it was his �rst night sleeping outside after getting kicked out of a Tim Hortons. We realized how little we knew the city we had visited countless times before; we were always rushing past with blinders on. It took a walk to slow us down and rediscover the many stories of the street.

Walking helps form a community connection
No one enjoyed a good walk or appreciated its illuminating power more than urban thinker and writer Jane Jacobs. Refering to of the "intricate sidewalk ballet" of the streets, she invited all of us to step outside our bubbles and see how we �t into the larger world. Speeding past in a car, you miss the details of the changing streetscape: The shutters of a fourth-generation store, the young family carrying a new baby or the kid sleeping in a doorway.

Meanwhile, postal carriers, who walk the same blocks daily, are so in sync with the community they are often �rst to report crimes or help at the scene of an accident. Most importantly, a walkable community is an accessible community. For the elderly lady who recently lost her license or the poor student who can't afford a car, the sidewalk is the ultimate leveller and a space we can all learn to share.

Benefits of walking

What's good for your community also works wonders for your health and the environment. Walking one kilometre a day reduces your risk of obesity by five per cent. Plus, it produces no pollution and costs nothing, except maybe a new pair of walking shoes now and again. Whether you walk to raise money for cancer, learn about an issue like homelessness or simply to get from point A to B, take the time to slow down the fast pace of your world and reconnect.

Page 1 of 2 -- Check out six fun ways to start walking in your neighbourhood on page 2
6 ways to start walking in your neighbourhood:

1. Take or lead a Jane's Walk, a walking festival that happens every May across Canada.

2. Start a morning or evening walking group in your neighbourhood. Committing to a group plan means you're much more likely to make the trek.

3. Pick an area of your town or city you've never explored and spend the weekend there on foot.

4. When moving to a new neighbourhood, rank it based on whether you can reach the nearest school, library, grocery store, park and hardware store on foot. Or enter the postal code on Walkscore.com, which will instantly assess the 'hood's walkability.

5. Dogs are a great way to work in a daily walk, not to mention the companionship of an animal friend.

6. Try to walk one errand a day.



Excerpted from the book Living Me to We: The Guide for Socially Conscious Canadians © 2012 by Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger, published by Me to We. Reprinted with permission from the publisher. Illustration by TurnStyle Imaging.

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Community & Current Events

6 ways to start walking in your neighbourhood

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