Last January found me recovering from COVID, trying to feel at home in our new neighborhood, and needing a way for the kids to run off excess energy in wet winter weather. So on a whim, I made a goal for us: take one hundred walks in 2021. My kids and I dressed warmly, clipped the leash on the delighted dog, and hit the pavement. We walked every day for a few months before our pace slowed down, but we did meet our goal—and gained a lot of other benefits along the way.

No Bad Weather

There’s a Norwegian saying we embraced this year: “There is no bad weather; just bad clothing.” We live in a place with very wet winters and it is often tempting to stay inside. But our 100 Walk Challenge forced us outside, rain or shine, cold or pleasant temperatures—and in the summer, when it was really hot. We dressed appropriately and walked, and we were much happier for it. The rest of the day spent indoors goes better when we’ve exercised our bodies and breathed in the fresh air of the outdoors.

Know Your Neighborhood

There’s something really wonderful about walking your neighborhood streets. You notice things: new flowers planted by someone’s mailbox, the way the tree down the road blooms and then sheds its blossoms like snow. You grow to love the place where you live when you slow down and really see it. And you might meet a neighbor or two out on their own walk.

Get Some Sun

Time in the outdoors is beneficial in every way. Daily walks have been proven to help with losing weight, building muscle and bone strength, and preventing certain diseases. Walks also strengthen the immune system, something everyone wants during cold and flu season. Walking reduces stress and combats depression. And daily exposure to Vitamin D from the sun has massive health benefits as well, from helping with calcium absorption to strengthening the immune system, to lifting moods. As we walked, we breathed in fresh air, got some exercise, and made ourselves stronger.

Time Together

During busy days, our walks made us slow down. They gave us time to talk about whatever was going on, or nothing important at all. Our walks became carved-out, protected time where we could just be together, with no interruptions. What a gift!

Take the Challenge?

We will be doing our 100 Walk Challenge again this year and enjoying its benefits. We hope you will join us and make walking your neighborhood a healthy and delightful habit in 2022.

Written by K. Allison Brannon