Walking, a Pedestrian Pursuit

(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

(THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

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Humans and their forebears have spent five million years perfecting one of the talents that make us most unique as a species ... the ability to walk upright. We evolved to walk on two legs. Our bodies are meant to walk, and our biology wants, even requires, us to walk.

But for the past century, we've been trying to do it as little as possible. It's come to the point where Canadian teenagers spend an average of eleven minutes walking per day.

Walking is so out of step with a life that values speed, efficiency and instant gratification that the word, "pedestrian," has come to mean dull, uninspired and unexciting.

But for all the big box malls ringing car-choked cities and ATV trails bringing noise and speed to more pastoral retreats, it seems that walking has come back in vogue. Walkable neighbourhoods are a cornerstone of current urban planning and they help drive real estate values up. People are moving back to the downtown cores of cities, where they can walk to do their shopping or get to work.

In this hour, a walking tour guide, an evolutionary biologist, a psychologist, a city planner and authors and journalists talk about how walking isn't just good for our bodies, it's good for our souls. It connects us to our surroundings, our humanity and to each other.

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(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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