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Pedestrian-friendly city

Pedestrian-friendly city

While visiting Kigali, Ibrahim decided to explore the city on foot. Walking enabled him to observe and absorb more. The tourist from Morocco fell in love with Kigali’s pedestrian-friendly roads.

Around the world, walking tours are becoming more and more popular. As they walk up and down, visitors feel the heartbeats of their host cities. Walking can be done in an unfamiliar city without a guide. In this age of advanced technology, numerous applications and GPS navigation functions are available at our fingertips. Some of them work offline. They don’t require any data plan.

Gone are the days when our urban planners used to design roads without putting pedestrians into consideration. Old roads constructed without sideways are being phased out.

Kigali’s quest to tarmac every street is accelerated by residents who walk the talk by chipping in their own contributions. This partnership has seen more and more residential areas getting rid of old dusty roads.

Building footpaths is encouraging residents and their esteemed guests to walk more. The process of creating a conducive walking and cycling environment is in full swing. The newest roads have designated cycling lanes too.

Credible studies have revealed the impact of regular walking in reducing the risk of a heart attack and stroke. Walking is also an effective weapon in the fight against diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol levels, blood clots and dementia.

On top of all that, the oldest form of exercising improves memory and combats the deterioration of brain tissues caused by old age. This simple but highly rewarding activity can be done by old people without stressing their delicate joints.

According to Brian Fulton, a renowned physiotherapist, our ancestors benefited tremendously when they started walking upright. They did a lot of walking and enjoyed sound health. Then came the Industrial Age and its ensuing revolution. Automobiles were invented and jobs that make us sit down all day were created. This new lifestyle is to blame for increased cases of soft tissue disorders and a plethora of other complications.

Another study conducted by the University of Stanford shows that regular walking increases our creative output by 60%. Researchers call this kind of creativity divergent thinking. Walking stimulates a free flow of ideas. Engaging in activities that allow our minds to wander empowers our innovative acumen.

I love jogging on those pavements and I am not the only one. Some of my friends terminated their gym memberships when their roads were upgraded. Running is more physically taxing but walking is as effective, if not more effective, than running.

Those roadside pavements are there for a reason. One day your doctor will advise you to use them instead of sending you to the pharmacy. Don’t wait until that day comes.

The author is a travel enthusiast currently visiting all 30 districts and 416 sectors of Rwanda. Follow his awe-inspiring journey on Twitter @GeoExposure

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