5 Great Reasons to Walk Instead of Driving

Downtown Vancouver is an extremely "walkable" city. It's also notoriously hard to find parking. Rather than get frustrated by this, many are choosing to leave the keys on the dresser and tie on a pair of walkers instead.

Whether you're sight-seeing, looking for a great downtown restaurant, or commuting to work; walking to Vancouver's many local destinations rather than driving can be a highly beneficial option for you; our downtown Vancouver community and the environment. If you're yet to leave your car and take to your feet, you may be spurred to make the swap when you stop to consider the many advantages all-round.

Here's what we'll discuss in this article:

  • Walking has many benefits to you and the environment
  • Walking connects you with your community in ways that may surprise you
  • Walking has long lasting physical and mental health benefits according to studies

Here are five top reasons to leave the car where it is when the journey is walkable:

To help save the environment

Vancouver seems to be at the very tip of the spear of the affects of climate-change. In 2021 in June we had record heat and the notorious "heat dome" that caused hundreds of deaths. In 2022 we had record rain and cold through Spring. If you've ever wondered what can be done about it - here's something everyone can do to help. Every time you leave the car at home and walk instead, you'll save toxic gas emissions. These CO2 gases are bad for the world's climate, with far-reaching and highly damaging effects now being seen. Road traffic is a major contributor, so every drive avoided will help to combat this dangerous situation. Car fumes are also unhealthy to inhale, potentially causing serious breathing problems. Besides these dangers, toxic air is unpleasant to taste and breathe, so by cancelling that drive, you'll be doing your community a favour.

To keep fit and healthy

Physical exercise promotes fitness, so that's another invaluable reason to make your trip on foot. Although walking is only mildly exerting, the slow, steady process will be ideal for loosening up and gently toning your muscles and joints. It will also stimulate your heart and lungs without over-straining them, enhancing your circulation which, in turn, will promote all-round good health. No wonder people tend to look rosy-cheeked and bright-eyed after a walk. Sitting in a stuffy car, on the other hand, will do nothing for your health. Vancouver has many great walking paths even within the city. The City of Vancouver has many "Walk Vancouver" resources that can help you get started.

To chill out

Walking is relaxing, both physically and mentally. It's pleasing to stretch your legs when you've been sitting or pottering around indoors, and it also feels good to give your eyes a break from close work and let them wander. The stir of life around you can be invigorating, while the open sky and wide horizon will inspire a sense of freedom. Let the great outdoors lift your mood, while any worries float away on the breeze. Living downtown Vancouver is something special, but like most city-dwelling it comes with its' own set of challenges. One study has even linked growing up in a city with some mental-health challenges. Why not grab any opportunity to "chill"?

Here's an example of some of the things you'll see downtown Vancouver

To notice nature and surroundings

If you live downtown Vancouver, then it's not news to you to hear this, but maybe we'll just take a minute to make those who don't have the privilege even more jealous: 92.7% of Vancouver residents are within 400 meters (about 1200 feet) of a Park, greenway or other green-space! Not to mention some of those "green-spaces" happens to be Stanley Park - while not the largest of its kind it IS one-fifth LARGER than New York's famed Central Park! A walk will bring you in touch with the natural world on your doorstep. Look out for birds, insects and greenery, and see what the sky's doing, too. The wonders of nature offer inspiration, helping you rise above the nitty gritty details of your day's commitments. Take a look at the human scene, too, people watching in Downtown Vancouver is a lot of fun. People can be fascinating to observe as they go about their lives in their different ways. Open up your senses to imbue the scents, sights and sounds around you, for a rejuvenating change of scene. It's not so easy to do that from inside a moving car.

To meet people

Step onto the downtown Vancouver sidewalk, seawall, or boardwalk, and you'll be out in the community. You might meet a neighbour, passing the time of day or even stopping for a chat, perhaps. You'll spot celebrities and other local people, too, on your way down the street, catching little insights into their lives. Connecting with your local community helps to build mutual respect and understanding, promoting peace, harmony and positivity around you. The contact will also bring a sense of comradely warmth to take home with you. But you miss all this when you simply drive through Downtown Vancouver.

There are other advantages of walking, too, such as saving money on gas, reducing noise pollution, and nurturing the artist within you. It's always worth reviewing your lifestyle for a win-win option like this.

Foot Health = More Walking

Dr. Raminder Badyal has been a part of the Downtown Vancouver Community for over two decades. He is ready to help you with all your foot health needs to ensure you can keep seeing the benefits of walking in Downtown Vancouver for years to come. Why not schedule a visit to the Downtown Wellness Centre today.

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