Walking is a popular activity that has been adopted as a relevant form of exercise. And there are plenty of reasons why walking is good for you.
Yet the term “walking” and events that involve walking exclude people with disabilities that are unable to walk. But that could be about to change!
How I Walk, a movement in the United States is on a mission to “rebrand the word walking”. Their aim is to promote walking initiatives that include everyone.
Members believe that some people use two legs, and others use two wheels. And they want using two wheels to be recognised as a form of walking rather than using descriptions such as rolling, pushing, or wheeling.
And they are right. Just because someone has an impairment that means they cannot walk with their legs, they are still able to get around. They just do it in a different way.
But there is a lot more to gain from the Hit I Walk movement than how society views, treats and describes disabled people.
Equal Rights For All
Statistics on the How I Walk website states that 20% of the US population has a disability and 50% of adults with a disability do not get any physical activity.
Yet everyone has the right to be able to access conditions and resources that enable them to optimise their health. Because people with disabilities were a forgotten breed by local governments, most environments and programmes still fail to cater for 20% of the population.
These ingrained barriers can prevent members of society that are less able-bodied from getting any exercise or joining groups. Studies show the lack of exercise among this cohort of the population is a significant contributory factor to health disparities.
How I Walk also calls for everyone to demand safe and accessible streets that we can “walk” along without the risk of injury, discomfort or barriers.
In addition, “all modes of transportation should be accessible to all people at all times—systems designed to meet the needs of people with disability will meet the needs of everyone.
How I Walk intend to encourage individuals to share their mode of walking through pictures, videos, or other media and share it across social media platforms using the hashtag #HowIWalk.
How we treat one another is important when cultivating a functional society. Addressing past failures that have left a large part of the population in limbo is a promising way to change the perspective and attitudes of the wider community.
Everyone has the right to access public spaces, programs and events. All inclusivity is the way forward so that everyone can walk together. Because together we are stronger.
To support the How I Walk movement, visit their website to find out what you can do to promote equal opportunities and access to public spaces.