Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Walking is great exercise and the best way to explore when you travel

Pick up any health magazine, and you’re likely to find an article on walking for exercise. It’s such an easy thing to do and provides so many health benefits.

Limestone path in Tuolumne meadow in Yosemite National Park

The best part for travelers is you can do it almost anywhere--in airplane aisles, on ships’ promenades, and when you stop for gas on road trips. Not only will walking burn calories (you had the cheesecake last night, didn’t you?), but it’s the cheapest form of transportation and a great way to explore a destination. We’re not talking about backpacking or running a marathon—just normal walking, putting one foot in front of the other long enough to increase heart rate, even slightly.


Larry walks along a beach on the Oregon coast.
The American Heart Association tells us that walking boosts metabolism while improving mood. Even better, it reduces risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancer. And walking improves blood pressure and blood sugar levels while helping you maintain proper body weight. Why wouldn’t you want all those health benefits?
So don’t forget a comfortable pair of sneakers when you travel. Keep them handy (on your feet!), and you won’t have an excuse not to walk. While you’re out and about on foot it’s easy to make friends, see the sights of a new city, or appreciate the beauty of nature.

Walking among the redwood trees in
Humboldt State Park, California
It's no secret that sitting too long is bad for you, even if you attempt to exercise at your seat. If you’re flying to a destination, try to get up and walk for a couple of minutes every hour (walking to the lav doesn’t count). Same goes for long road trips in the car. Find a roadside park where you can spend 10-15 minutes walking at your own pace (jogging not required). Besides, walking will help calm any anxiety you might feel about your trip.

Exploring trains in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Some travelers like to monitor their daily steps with a FitBit or other tracking devices. To that end, look for walking tours--you might be surprised how many miles you can cover before declaring it’s time to find a ride. Walking allows you to stop and admire special sights along the way, take detours when something piques your interest, and have fun sharing experiences with your traveling companion.

So keep moving—one step at a time!

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

 

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