Meet your neighbors, discover new businesses and other benefits of staying close to home.
Posted in , Jul 16, 2020
As we continue to shelter in place during the Covid-19 pandemic, going for walks has become a regular activity for many people. Not only is it a great way to get out of the house for a bit, but it’s fairly easy to maintain the suggested 6-feet of social distance. And while it might be tempting to hop in the car and drive to a hiking trail or the beach, walking around your own neighborhood has multiple benefits, too.
1. Meet Your Neighbors
Daily walks in your community are a great chance to get to know your neighbors—and not just the ones next door, but the ones down the road or around the corner. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation; a smile and a “good morning!” can go a long way. Consider asking someone how long they’ve lived in the neighborhood, or comment on their garden. Taking the time to build stronger bonds with those living around you makes your neighborhood a friendlier place. Just don’t forget to keep social distance!
2. Discover Local Businesses
Going on a walk in your neighborhood also gives you the chance to find local businesses that you might never have patronized before. You’d be surprised what you may stumble upon by switching up your routine and going just a block or two further than you normally would. You might find a cute coffee shop or bakery or even a restaurant you can check out when dine-in eating becomes available again. Supporting these local spots can also help to keep your community thriving during these difficult times.
3. Learn the Lay of the Land
How well do you know the layout of your neighborhood? Sometimes we hop right into the car or walk straight to the closest subway and don’t take the time to explore where we live. Try walking down a street you’ve never explored before, or setting out in the opposite direction. You might find something new— like a community garden or a park— you never realized existed. Neighborhood walks can also help us get a better sense of direction. Turn off your GPS and just wander. Soon, you’ll know your neighborhood like the back of your hand.
4. It’s Healthy!
Sheltering in place is important for our health as we try to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus. But exercise and fresh air, as well as soaking in some sunlight, are also vitally important to both physical and mental health. (Several recent major studies have indicated that severe Vitamin D deficiency may be correlated with Covid-19 mortality rates.) Going on a walk through your own neighborhood gives you the opportunity to get a daily cardio workout in. Try challenging yourself to go farther by adding another block on each day. Just don’t forget sunscreen and a face mask!
5. Take in Some Local Nature
Communing with nature is a vital part of the human experience. Take the time during your daily walk to get to know the flora and fauna of your neighborhood. Bring binoculars and do a little bird-watching. Take pictures of the different butterflies and look them up later when you get home; collect local leaves and flowers for a scrapbook. Bring a plastic bag along and pick up trash as you go; this way, you can keep your neighborhood's ecosystem nice and healthy while boosting your own health, too.