There are many ways to get exercise, but walking is one of the most popular for countless reasons – it’s low-impact, it’s easy to talk and be social while walking, it’s free (no gym membership required!), and you can do it almost anywhere. For these reasons, the American Heart Association (AHA) reports that walking has the lowest dropout rate of any physical activity. Just 30 minutes of walking a day (if you’re medically cleared to do so) can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, improve blood sugar and blood pressure levels, help you maintain a healthy body weight, enhance your mental well-being, and reduce your risk of osteoporosis, breast cancer, colon cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Walk With a Friend
Walking with a friend or multiple friends can make it more enjoyable, and you can help motivate one another. The first step is seeing if any current friends or relatives are interested. You can even start your own walking group. Then, set specific days and times. Trying new routes can keep it interesting, and mall walking is a great cool-weather option.
Another option is to join an existing walking group. The AHA encourages people to create or join a Walking Club, which are then organized through Meetup.com. There are already 480 AHA clubs in communities nationwide. You can also go directly to Meetup.com and look for walking or hiking groups in your area.
Walking or hiking in beautiful, natural surroundings makes exercising more enjoyable and adds variety to your routine. Here are a few resources for finding parks to walk and hike in:
- National Park Service Find a Park
- Discover the Forest
- America’s State Parks
- Visit your city website to discover city parks.
Hiking trails will usually be rated on difficulty from easy to extreme to allow you to pick a route that’s best for you and your group.
If you go on a hike, make sure to be prepared. The American Hiking Society offers this “10 Essentials of Hiking” list to follow.
With a beautiful natural setting to enjoy, company and great conversation, you can’t go wrong with a walking routine. Happy trails!