For years, my mornings began with a brisk walk before heading out to teach school. This routine allowed me to enjoy beautiful sunrises, focus my thoughts, and boost my energy for the day. Almost inevitably, as I started down the hill from my home, I passed a group of friends heading up towards me. Marty, Fred, Larry and Ben (not their actual names) had been longtime residents of the neighborhood, and having raised their families, were in various stages of retirement. They met nearly every morning to walk, catch up, and joke around. We usually shared a bit of banter in passing. They would tease me about choosing an easy course, since I was going down the hill, and I would reply that I had chosen the smarter route.
My neighbors’ story wonderfully illustrates the reasons we celebrate Walk Maryland Day. Walking has many benefits—it can improve physical and mental health, brings friends together, and serve as transportation. However, have you considered that all of these perks can also be part of a smart money management strategy? Walking can protect both your health and your savings. Here are three ways walking saves money.
Fewer Medical Expenses Means More Savings
You can walk your way to saving an average of $10,000 in medical expenses. Studies suggest this can happen by taking an extra 2000 steps each day, only about a mile of moderate walking. This helps avoid the weight gain that can make us sick and need additional health care. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of costly chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, joint and bone problems, and heart disease.
Walking With Purpose Cuts Down On Vehicle Expenses
A vehicle costs about $0.59 per mile to operate. Driving 10 miles less per week can save you more than $300 each year! If you’d like to cut down on your mileage, try a few of these options:
- Leave the car at home and walk for short trips.
- Drive part of the way to your destination, park the car, and then walk the rest of the distance.
- Look into public transportation. If that option is available, walk to the station, or get off one stop early for your destination.
Hiking Doesn’t Come With A Bill
Hiking or walking lets you spend quality time with friends and family, without spending a lot of money on food, drinks, and entertainment. Find a route near your home, or explore one of the many parks, both large and small, across Maryland. You can also hike segments of the Walk MD! Trail, a 500-mile route that winds its way around the state.
Walk Maryland Day is tomorrow, but by being creative, you can celebrate Walk Maryland Day every day. Walk your kids to school, take a walk during your lunch break, or walk between errands. Just start walking—it’s good for your health, it’s good for your wallet.