For most, walking is an exercise. It’s likely to be either a walk in the park or one that requires more effort and speed on the tracks. However, due to our 40 hour work week, many of us are unable to set aside enough time for these activities. So instead, I turn it into another mode of transport for myself.
Recently, a colleague who stayed in Sengkang gave me a lift home after a teambuilding session at an ulu place. He was quite curious about where I get my groceries and household supplies since there wasn’t any hypermart in Punggol. Furthermore, I didn’t own a car.
I was pleasantly surprised by his concerns and casually explained that my wife and I would walk to Rivervale Mall (in Sengkang) where there was a pretty big NTUC and even a Daiso. I added that this trip would take us about 20-25 minutes, depending on the walking speed.
“You walked all the way? Are you kidding?!”
You should just see that look on his shell-shocked face. I guess he must be thinking that the “long walk” was nothing short of absurd as he started recommending me some buses that would bring me to the mall after recovering from the shock. Perhaps he had assumed that the only reason I walked was that I didn’t knew the buses to take me there.
Apparently, my colleague’s mindset isn’t that uncommon. Before moving over to our new place, my wife stayed in Toh Guan which was a less than 10 minutes walk to IMM. I was appalled that on most visits to IMM, instead of walking there, the family would drive there. Sure, the groceries were pretty heavy but most of the time, the load was pretty manageable if everyone helped out with a few bags.
Unless one is in exercise attire, it appears that walking is fast becoming an ordeal to be avoided in hot and humid Singapore, especially with distances that take longer than 15 minutes. But seriously, this shouldn’t be happening and I shall now make a case for incorporating more walking into our daily schedule.
No burden on the wallet
Don’t get suckered into the sunk cost fallacy. I know the car’s expensive with the fixed costs like COE, road taxes and insurances whereas running costs like parking charges are peanuts in comparison. But that’s still money, right? And even if the parking is free (in the case of IMM), there’s still the petrol costs involved. Nothing can beat the zero financial cost (maybe even environmental too) of being powered by your own body.
Instead of taking a train for one stop to Raffles Place to exchange some currencies or make a deposit to my CIMB Starsaver account during lunch time, I walk for 15 minutes to reach the place. As Ben Franklin says it “A dollar saved is a dollar earned”. Yeah, I know the amount saved is less than a dollar (73 cents) and inflation has eroded most of the value of a dollar, but that’s the spirit one needs to become rich.
Your largely sedentary lifestyle needs it
If you’re a white collar worker whose daily job involves sitting down in a cushy chair most of the time and also lying down on the bed with an iPad to read this post, you had better start walking soon. A sedentary lifestyle is widely believed to be one of the main causes of lifestyle diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart diseases.
And unless you’re exercising for at least 30 minutes each day, there really isn’t that many opportunities in the day to accumulate the 10,000 steps an individual should make to maintain good health. Even walking to office from Chinatown MRT station to my workplace in Tanjong Pagar requires only 1,500 steps (~20 minutes). And I do that almost every weekday morning.
Public transport (or even cars) might not be faster
Time is precious, so walking is often dismissed. After all, walking is definitely slower than cars, trains, or buses, right? Or so we assume. I am actually inclined to think that in some scenarios, walking might be a superior option, even after accounting for time. This is because most of us discount the time spent walking to the carpark lot and the time spent searching for a parking lot in dense Singapore.
And it’s not just limited to cars. Even though my office is just a 5 minutes walk away from Tanjong Pagar station, I prefer to get off at Chinatown and walk an additional 15 minutes. The additional two stops, the transfer at Outram interchange and the additional wait for a train takes more than 10 minutes too. And I haven’t even mentioned the risk of train delays.
It improves your mood
Walking clears our minds. Whenever I’m stuck with a problem, I like to take a short walk. I am not sure if it’s the connecting with nature part or letting my thoughts roam freely that matters, but walking almost always help. In fact, this post’s skeleton was conceived this morning when I was taking my daily walk to office!
Instead of taking a train to City Hall and wait at the restaurant for Mrs 15HWW on Friday evenings (I end work earlier), I take a leisurely half an hour stroll around the Marina Bay area and Singapore River to reach Raffles City. Enjoying the scenery of our beautiful bay area beats waiting for and squeezing inside those packed East-bound trains anytime!