August 19, 2018 – last year’s Open Streets event – was a wonderful day for many reasons. Open Streets was happening and took Corvallis by storm. Sunshine, great food, exciting activities, it was all happening! With so much to see and do I was on my feet all day, and didn’t realize I set an all-time personal record for steps in a day on my phone: 32,558 steps, 12.8 miles in one day.
My daily average in 2018 was 7,266 steps/day – so far in 2019, it is 8,195! I’ve started keeping track somewhat . . . it’s a way to keep myself accountable for staying active every day. It’s funny, I didn’t even realize that keeping track of my steps is something that my phone automatically did until I was fiddling with the apps on my phone one day and stumbled across it. I was creeped out at first, but have since found a way to turn it into a positive for myself. I try to take advantage of free moments to get myself walking instead of sitting around. Why? It feels good for my body to get moving. I’ve started to notice that I really do feel better when I’ve gotten some sort of exercise each day. My mind is more clear, my joints feel better . . . fresh air and movement do me a world of good!
The benefits for me are many. A high step count means I got outside and took advantage of the fresh air. More and more, I’ve started to use walking as an opportunity to meditate and clear my mind of all of the trappings of everyday life. Walking has become as much of a mental wellness activity as a physical one for me. Of course it’s also good for me to get exercise! I’m proud that I’m averaging almost 1,000 steps more per day than I did last year. That’s not by accident!
Open Streets Corvallis gives people the opportunity to get out and feel how small our community really is. I’m a big bike commuter, but something I’ve realized over the past couple of years is how quick and efficient walking can also be as a way of commuting. Corvallis has an amazing network of sidewalks and bike lanes that give everyone the opportunity to travel and commute safely to almost anywhere you want to go. Open Streets makes it even easier by removing all traffic and really turning the streets back over to the people! Walking or biking from one end of Open Streets to another gives everyone the chance to feel the streets, the short distance, and the joy that being active can be!
Open Streets Corvallis is all about being active, enjoying our amazing community, seeing friends, and having fun! Get out there on August 18th in South Corvallis and maybe you too can set a personal record . . . can you beat me?
Mac Gillespie is in his third year representing Benton County Health Department as part of the Open Streets Corvallis planning team. He is on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, is actively involved in Garfield PTA, and is enthusiastic about supporting healthy and fun community activity.