I’m in the midst of a few months of restricted activity due to some medical shenanigans, and my first question I asked after my doctor told me I need to avoid cardio exercise and lifting more than a grocery bag was, “Can I go for walks? Like, for an hour? Or more?”

Thankfully, his answer was yes. I can walk for as long as I’d like.

Since I got into the habit of running this fall, training for a 5k, one of the things I knew might happen but still delighted me when it did was that I’d come to rely on my runs for my mental health. That hour spent purely in pursuit of a made-up goal became an unexpected highlight of my day. Three or four times a week, I got up and out, and it made everything better. My mind felt clearer, my body felt stronger.

Being forced to take it easy is frustrating and disappointing, especially because I was this close to being ready for the 5k.

But at least I can take long walks. And so I have been, every day.

I walk by myself, but I see these walks as being as important to my general life as artist Austin Kleon describes the walks he takes with his family every morning. (I also can’t make it to Creative Mornings – the talks happen too early to accommodate dropping my kid off at school.)

Not only will my body heal while I stroll around the woods and my neighbourhood, my mind will stay healthy, too.