I love to walk. I'm the crazy lady who parks at the far end of the lot, who walks past the elevator in search of the stairs. This appreciation for walking may have taken root when I was a child, growing up with my brother Tim, who was in a wheelchair for most of his short life. 

Fortunately, my office in the immense Tri-Main Center offers a daily opportunity for many steps just getting to and from my car, my warehouse and the restroom. But I am determined to also carve out 30 minutes every day for what I call "intentional walking." This is 30 minutes of brisk, forceful walking. I probably rack up 2,000 steps a day without this, but the think time it offers is invaluable. When my feet are moving, my brain is working, generally in background, solving problems and coming up with innovative ideas that elude me during desk time. Runners know what I'm talking about. It's amazing what I can accomplish while walking.

There are lots of gym membership deals out there, and loads of yoga options. And there is a lot to be said for a good Zumba class, a stationary bike or an elliptical - especially during the cold winter months.

But walking is the cheapest, easiest way to stay fit. All you need is a decent pair of walking shoes. Just 7 to 10 minutes of brisk walking each day can increase your heart health and even increase creativity. But your goal should be 30 minutes of walking every day. If it's too cold outside - and it sure is today - walk indoors. Malls and office buildings, like the Tri-Main, have miles of corridors, just there for the walking. For free.

Take a Tifft Nature Preserve walk on a crisp winter day, or a Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus walk. Explore Buffalo tours all involve walking and you also learn about our history and architecture. Walking with others leads to friendships and networks can develop. The MeetUps in Buffalo website lists at least a dozen groups like the Buffalo Day Hikes Meetup that walk regularly. Walking instead of driving is good for the environment, and walking is even used to treat depression.

Contribute your walks to the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo's the Walking to Wellness Campaign that seeks to rack up 50 million steps in 2017. Invest in a pedometer, or just calculate 2,000 steps for each mile you walk. Groups and individuals can e-mail their steps to beactive@city-Buffalo.org or fax the numbers to 716-851-4309. A tally will be kept! In fact, the Buffalo Walking to Wellness Campaign is now part the American Public Health Association's One Billion Steps by April 9 campaign.

Was one of your New Year's resolutions to "lose weight" or "exercise more?" Keeping track of how much you walk each day is an easy, objective way to actually follow through on that New Year's resolution. And the pounds will follow. 

So don't just get healthier this year, get happier - walk! The quality of life in any community is best measured by the health of the members of that community. Let's walk, Buffalo!