So where do you go to walk?
Each of you probably has a favorite place to go walking…so do I!
Sometimes the weather may dictate which venue you select for your walk…or it may be your schedule for the day, the types of things on your “to do” list, a special errand requiring extra travel outside of your “local zone” or even just your energy level.
Here’s an overview of places that have worked well for me, to easily combine walking with my daily schedule and to have some variety, too. I’ll expand on these venues with more interesting tid bits and personal experiences in future articles!
1. Local Parks
One of my favorite walking venues is my local hiking/trail park! Everyone has a park with walking paths in their vicinity. If you haven’t been to one or seen one in your neighborhood, then do some research on the internet, or ask about park facilities at your Community Park District or YMCA. Some have brochures with full maps detailing the locations, size and various facilities & amenities that each provides!
2. Local neighborhood
Some neighborhoods are more conducive to taking a walk than others. I take a short walk a few days a month around my own neighborhood, but I prefer traveling to a more picturesque small-scale “main street” neighborhood located a mere 5-minute drive away! I park in the small restaurant lot, or on the street and walk several square block loops, looking at newly planted flowers, blossoming trees and checking out the decorative small boutique store fronts, sometimes stopping for a quick fresh-brewed Guatemalan Decaf at the cozy family-owned coffee shop.
3. Outdoor Strip Mall
If you’re going to go grocery shopping anyway, or need to pick up some office supplies, just a gallon of milk, or an extra bag of cat food for the weekend, find a strip mall with an outdoor walkway from one end to the other (and preferably with sidewalks encircling the perimeter of the entire strip mall, too).
Then walk the strip mall sidewalk (back & forth) and continue with the environs around the mall (on the sidewalks). Watch for crossings, cars, shopping carts and other people! Stay OFF the parking lots!
You can check out some of the sale ads in the store front windows and then go shopping after you’ve had a nice long relaxing walk! Make the shopping itself part of your walk–take the longer path around the store as you shop!
4. Indoor Mall
What would we all do without our grand indoor malls? This is my venue of choice when the weather is too cold, rainy or snowy to walk outside…plus there are always new things to check out & great little snack spots to try out when it’s time for a refreshment. I usually go for a Jamba Juice drink—fresh carrot-orange juice, or matcha green tea with soy milk!
5. Local Community College Campus
Have you been contemplating the idea of taking a college course to update your current skills or learn about a new hobby–something you’ve never tried before?
If so, then check out your local community college. Park in the visitor parking area and wander through the halls and the outdoor walkways to get a feel for what the institution offers and then pick up a class schedule, peek into the student art gallery, peruse the bulletin boards for performance events and have a nice refreshing walk at the same time! If you enroll in a course, you can take this walk more often!
6. The City
If you’re a city-dweller then you already know how many walking options you have in your neighborhood. You can walk a different route almost every time you explore the city and it’s less known side streets, book stores, parks and such.
If you live in the suburbs, take public transportation into the city and make it a day or a half day trip. Explore an art gallery you haven’t been to in a while, a city park, or a museum—you’ll have so much fun you won’t even notice how much walking you do as you explore!
You can always rest & relax after your invigorating city walk on the way home on the train!
7. Festivals, Shows & Fairs
During the warmer weather there are always local festivals, carnivals, craft shows, art fairs and holiday celebration events to offer some excitement to your walking! Take in some live music! See some lovely artwork and hand made crafts by local & regional artists! Join in with the holiday celebration, walk around, mingle with the crowd and explore!
Are there other places where you enjoy walking? If so, I’d love to hear about them!
So which is my favorite place to go walking? Well, I guess I have a lot of favorites–you see, just like choosing my “favorite music” at any moment, my “favorite walking venue” changes, too! I’m sure that resonates with many of you too!
With any of these places, if the venue is new to you, then make sure you do some research on this new walking venue by mapping it online, reading any information you can find, asking for some feedback from community centers, friends, as well as driving by & around the area first, to make sure it’s safe and that there’s convenient parking or public transportation.
Do NOT walk (venues/conditions):
- Do NOT walk in Streets.
- Do NOT walk in Parking Lots.
- Do NOT walk in an area totally unknown to you–research online & inquire, first.
- Do NOT walk in any area that makes you feel insecure.
- Do NOT walk on uneven, slippery or rocky terrain.
- Do NOT walk in bad or threatening weather.
Be Smart, Stay Safe, but have Fun!
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Please gain approval from your health caregiver before embarking on any new physically active program such as walking.