Walking outside on a daily basis is something that we all can do no matter our level of fitness. The practice offers numerous health benefits plus it’s good for your mental attitude as well. That’s why our One Healthy Change a Month for May is: walking outside for 30 minutes a day. And the beauty of this healthy habit is that it’s easy to incorporate into our travel schedules.
The key word in this month’s One Healthy Change Challenge is “outside.” Although walking on an indoor treadmill or at the mall offers exercise, you’ll miss the benefits of combining walking with nature. When I’m walking outside in my Montana neighborhood, all of my senses are engaged (leave the ipod at home). I hear animals scurrying about in the underbrush near the road, feel the breeze on my face, see the clouds casting shade on the pointy peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains and smell the distinct odor of sagebrush wet from morning dew. The only sense that’s missing is taste and I’m sure if I foraged around enough, I’d find something edible to try.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have the mountains of Montana as their walking scenery, but that’s no excuse not to go walking outside. If you live in a city, find the nearest park, public green space or at least a street with a few trees. Here’s how your body will benefit:
- Have you considered combining mediation with walking? In an article for Huffington Post, Dr. Andrew Weil offers advice on Breathwalking. A helpful video demonstrates the process. (I’d really like to learn how to do this.)
- In an interview at Midlife Matters, Carolyn Scott Kortge, author of Healing Walks for Hard Times, talks about the meditative benefit of walking with writer Sheryl Kraft. Korge also recommends breaking your 30-minute walk into 10-minutes sessions if lack of time is a factor.
So how do we fit this new daily routine of walking outside into our travel itineraries? I have a few ideas for you:
- At your destination, plan to get up 30 minutes early to walk outdoors.
- On road trips, schedule 10-minute walking breaks for every 90-minutes you spend in the car. Click for more healthy road trip ideas.
- Travel to a destination that’s known for natural beauty, then make sure that you take a daily walk.
- Research city parks and greenways before you leave home, especially when visiting a metropolitan area like New York City. Another option is to inquire about city parks at the Visitor’s Bureau at your destination.
- Take advantage of the walking deck onboard ship. Sure, cruise lines usually have excellent exercise facilities, but you’ll miss all that fresh sea air by using the indoor treadmill.
It’s not too late to join our challenge. Click on One Healthy Change a Month to read more.
Disclosure: I have included an Amazon link to Healing Walks for Hard Times for your convenience, however My Itchy Travel Feet does receive a small percentage for purchases made at Amazon.com.