Walking is both transportation and exercise. But it can be much more than that. While the following information might have little to do with sustainability, it does relate to walking. And some of it is so intriguing that it seemed that it should be included in this website.
There are also forms of walking that, while fun, probably aren't going to fit into your regular walking routine.
Labyrinths go far back in history. The current popularity of labyrinths is based largely on the adoption of the labyrinth pattern that exists in the famous Chartres Cathedral in France.
Labyrinth in Chartres
Cathedral Visitors walk along a path, winding back and forth, until they reach the center of the design. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has a specific path with no confusing choices. No one gets lost in a labyrinth. Walking the labyrinth is a sacred act, a moving meditation that can have profound effects on the walker.
Non-profit organization dedicated to introducing people to the healing, meditative powers of the labyrinth.
Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Sacred Tool [book]
Author: Lauren Artress (www.laurenartress.com), the American woman who revitalized interest in the labyrinth.
International labyrinth organization. Extensive information, and even a virtual labyrinth that you can "walk."
Grace Cathedral's Labyrinth Page
Extensive information, articles and recordings about labyrinths.
Online Finger Meditation Tool
From Grace Cathedral Episcopal Church in San Francisco
Interesting site that lets you "walk" both a Classical (Cretan - based on seven chakras) labyrinth and a Chartres Cathedral (11 circuit) labyrinth.
World Wide Labyrinth Locator
From Grace Cathedral and the Labyrinth Society.
Locate a labyrinth near you.
There's a subset of walking that involves walking barefoot. This is truly for the adventurous, although reportedly life-changing once you've adapted to it.
Barefoot Walking Lifestyle
Good blog on barefoot walking.
East Bay Barefoot Hikers/Parents for Barefoot Children
Barefooted trail hiking in the (San Francisco Bay Area) East Bay. Also, parents promoting healthy barefoot activity for their children.
Promotes the health and enjoyment of walking barefoot, running barefoot, and promoting those activities and products that promote healthy feet.
Society for Barefoot Living
Extensive information and articles. Includes debunking such myths as it's illegal to drive barefooted [book]
A book about bare feet and how their sensitivity can provide not only an unique dimension of pleasure, but also significant benefits.
A Case for Bare Feet
A paper in defense of the rights of barefoot walkers.
You Walk Wrong
Article in New York magazine.
"It took 4 million years of evolution to perfect the human foot. But we're wrecking it with every step we take."
Vibram Five Fingers
Footwear that's kind of a halfway (or 3/4 way) house for feet on their way to full barefoot walking. Like gloves for your feet.
A revolutionary, back-to-basics design based on the simple principle that being barefoot is the healthiest way for you and your feet to be.
Reflexology Path (also called Cobblestone Walking)
A Reflexology Path is a path or walkway designed with the stated intent to stimulate points on the foot corresponding to reflexology beliefs. As in reflexology, this must be done barefoot for any effect. The effects are thought to be similar to a general, light, reflexology massage, stimulating most points rather evenly. Reflexology paths are common features of parks and public spaces throughout Asia.
Molded plastic mats can be purchased to simulate reflexology paths in the home. (from Wikipedia)
Reflexology path - Seattle (photo courtesy of King County)
King County Reflexology Paths
Reflexology paths created in Seattle public parks.
Reflexology Paths around the world
Article with links to many sites in Asia and Europe.
Bastyr University Reflexology Path
At natural healing university in Seattle.
Barefoot parks are theme parks for sensual experiences and natural wellness. They are kept clean and maintained on a regular basis, so that barefoot hiking can be done in an appropriate environment. Barefoot parks usually include a lot of adventure stations. Visitors use the experience to feel different soil textures underfoot; to wade through rivers, brooks, or ponds; and to exercise foot gymnastics, balancing and climbing. Playgrounds; bathing lakes; and equipment for smelling, hearing, and seeing different colors; and feeling hidden objects may be included. Some of the barefoot parks call themselves barefoot trails.
Natural and healthy barefoot activity.
Barefoot in Nature
Helpful suggestions, cautions and hints
Trentham Estate Barefoot Park
The first barefoot park in Britain.
And then there's this...