Saturday, 9 December 2017

The triple benefits of walking

Yesterday evening, I'm on may way to town from my father's house. I pass bus stop CE by Hollingbourne Gardens; the indicator says a bus to Ealing Broadway is due in 10 minutes. A woman in her 40s, a little overweight, is waiting. Probably been there a few minutes... I march on. By the time the bus arrives, assuming it will arrive on time, I'll be more than halfway to its destination. I continue... past the next stop (Kent Gardens SA) and the next one (The Knoll SB) and the next one (Charlbury Grove SD).

And just then, the bus whizzes past me, only to stop a few hundred yards later by the junction of Castlebar Road and Carlton Road as it hits the back of a traffic jam standing all the way back to Ealing Broadway. I overtake the bus (walking pace, no running) as it passes Eaton Rise and reach the destination before the bus.

So the lady who'd been waiting at Hollingbourne Gardens a) took longer to reach Ealing Broadway than me, b) spent £1.50 for the privilege of waiting in near-freezing weather for ten+ minutes then spending a further 12 minutes in a bus, much of the time stationary in a jam and c) missed out on 20 minutes' exercise.

Later that evening, heading back to Ealing from town, I arrive at Queensway station on the Central line to find disruption on the line and a 15-minute wait for the next Ealing Broadway train. Seconds later, a West Ruislip train arrives, and I take than with the intention of taking it to Perivale. The walk to my father's from Perivale station is longer than from Ealing Broadway (around 2,500 paces rather than 2,000 paces), but the balance between an extra 500 paces and waiting 15 minutes is a no-brainer. Even at an unhurried rate, I can walk 100 paces a minute, so 15 minutes = 1,500 paces, therefore I'll be home ten minutes earlier if I do the longer walk compared to waiting at Queensway.

As a youth, I'd do what I can to avoid having to walk, but now that walking has become an ingrained habit, I have no problems with it, spending on average between an hour and half and two hours a day walking. As well as the benefits of moving one's body, walking clears the mind. But in London I find it's saving me money (not having a season ticket, as I do in Warsaw) - and also saving me time.

Finally, a hint for Public Health England: while I value the One You project and the Active Ten part of it, I've long given up on the app - why? I often don't remember to launch the app when I set off at a brisk pace to the station or bus stop - I know I'm doing the walking but not getting the 'reward'. One day, when I knocked out a worthy 16,000 paces without once launching Active Ten (I was travelling - Warsaw - Łódź - Gdańsk, to busy to think about the app), I gave up. If Public Health England wants us to keep tabs on our brisk walking, I'd recommend an app to which you give permission but once to log your brisk walking, and it does so day in, day out, the year round.

This time last year:
W-wa Jeziorki: new 'up' platform nearly ready

This time two years ago:
Tottenham Court Road station revisited

This time three years ago:
Zen and the Art of Publishing

This time five years ago:
Wrocław, another Polish city of neon

This time six years ago:
Ronald Reagan remembered

This time seven years ago:
Accident of birth

This time nine years ago:
Under the Liberator

This time ten years ago:
Jeziorki on old maps

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