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Column: The perfect exercise, the perfect place

The benefits of walking seem ridiculously overstated. How could anything legal and free do all these things:

Make you happier. The exercise generates the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine without visiting the pharmacy.

• Cut weight. Because your craving for sugar is satisfied by activity that boosts the blood sugar in the brain

• Pump up creativity. The brain loves when exercise distracts your consciousness. The principle is when you are walking or running, you cannot worry. Accordingly, your brain works on the problems and has a reliable track record of rewarding you with the answer.

• Gain resistance. To the ubiquitous germs because your immune system gains strength.

• Do more with your time. A walking break does not cost you time, it gains you an investment that gains you energy. 

The bullet points above are all valid and available to anyone with a bit of initiative. I’m not talking about benefits generated after months of effort. A series of five-minute workouts will break the chains that trap you. What a deal! You will be more relaxed, enthusiastic, and less tense.

And all of this is free and available. So when do you start? How about now? Shelter Island is the most perfect walking venue on the planet. Our drivers are friendly to walkers (remember to face traffic and stay on the pavement edge).

You can start with a quarter-mile. But it would help if you recognized that taking that first step is the natural barrier. My recommendation?

Make your walk a reward. Complete a task, then take a walk. You can decide whether for five minutes or 30. The fantastic truth is you are unconsciously working even when walking. The answers to problems that require your brain to ponder and solve come like magic. 

The easiest question to answer is where, because the answer is anywhere. Every part of Shelter Island has plenty of roads with light traffic and great views. It’s isolated from everything and has the rare Shelter Island character of being entirely flat.

If you’re concerned about sharing the road, the correct answer is the quarter-mile loop behind the FIT Center.