How to Make Taking a Walk a More Interesting Experience
So you are taking a walk—great idea by the way because it’s an excellent way to get and stay fit—and you vow to start walking on a regular basis, but could it be that you have made just such vows before and broken them? New Year’s Resolutions come round once every 365 days and are frequently broken but make this resolution now; decide to take a walk every day and stick to your decision. If you are truly going to do so then you need to make your walks interesting; here are a few tips to help you do just that.
Time of Day for Walking
The time of day you take your walk can be very significant; in fact it can be just as important as where you walk. If you really want to make taking a walk an interesting experience vary the time you set off and learn to appreciate the different atmosphere this change brings.
Walking at Dawn and in the Early Hours of the Day
Some people love to get up early and take a walk before going to work. Those who do this are often heard to say that if they get up late they feel they’ve missed the best part of the day. I know exactly what they mean by that because I feel the same way―for me the dawn, when the night’s darkness begins to dissolve and give way to another day with its new possibilities, is my favourite time to walk. At that time of day, even in the city, it is the sky that becomes a changing landscape. At such times even a city route, with its walls, shuttered shops, and hard pavements, seems newly born, with varying tones and shades of grey revealing an urban environment never seen in the full light of day.
In The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration Vera Nazarian says of dawn that "...It is the most amazing moment of birth. And more than anything it can spur you to action. Have a burning day...” Although she is speaking of sitting quietly to witness the birth of the day taking a walk at dawn or in the early hours of the morning when the light is clear and the day fresh has the same effect of mentally and physically stimulating you to action and yet, at the same time soothing the spirit.
Strolling at Sundown
The evening, during the hours before dusk, is another preferred time for walking. Again for many this is a favourite time. In a sense it is a more sociable time because many people walk then, especially in the countryside when they walk their dogs, meet up with neighbours and perhaps stop for a drink or supper along their route. Everyone seems to have a phone these days and can easily arrange their times so that nothing is left to chance. Again the sky becomes part of the interest in a late afternoon or evening walk because often it forms a canvas on which vivid hues are wildly splashed. Sunset in particular is a time to appreciate the beauty of nature. Interestingly, a walk at the end of the day can fill you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, even if the day was mundane, anxiety-filled, and unsatisfying, a walk can raise the spirits and give you a chance to reassess and plan for the morning, wiping away discontent.
Walking During the Day
If you have time during the day, late morning or early afternoon, it is good to get out and about and get to know people living in your area. At this time of day it will be people who make your walk interesting. People doing their shopping, going to or from work, spending time with children or grandchildren at the park are the ones you will meet at that time of day. This is the time to walk if you are an observer of humanity, a people watcher, or if you are lonely and need someone with whom to pass the time of day. The air is mellower at this time so if you are not in a hurry, spare the time to chat with the old lady standing at her garden gate or the chap sitting on a bench watching the ducks at the park. It could be that you are the only person they will speak to in the next 24 hours and that contact will enrich both your lives. Meet up with characters of all sorts and then tell others about them―everyone is interested in people.
Where to Take an Interesting Walk
This is a primary consideration because if your environment is not conducive to a pleasant walk you will not enjoy it, and if you don’t enjoy it your first walk may be your last. Walking is so good for your health and spirit that you should try to do it regularly. If you are limited in your route during the week when considerations of time and place inevitably restrict your movements, try to make the most of your routine weekday walks and plan something especially pleasant for the weekend.
Walking Routes―Consider your Options
Sometimes your options for where to walk seem limited, especially if you are going to walk regularly. After all if you are going to work on foot you will cover the same terrain every day―twice! If that is the case then I can only suggest you make walking an interesting experience by following these tips.
· Take note of the ways in which your route changes day by day;
· Memorize quirky things, like shop-window displays, features in gardens, and cars;
· Try to work out the kind of people who live in certain houses and use clues to decide what they do, if they have children, etc.
· Pay attention to the people you pass on your route;
· Make a point of smiling and greeting people;
· Ask around to find out if anyone else walks the same route as you so that you can encourage each other to stay fit by walking together;
· If possible try to take a route through a park or public walkway; these are getting more frequent with modern planning and help keep you in touch with the cycle of seasons which, even in towns, is evident.
Weekend or Vacations
Make taking a walk a recreational highlight of the weekend.
Keep fit by walking your 10,000 steps each day during the week and then at the weekend plan something really exciting as a walk date.
It is at the weekend that you can choose especially scenic routes. Get an idea of where to go by looking on tourist information sites. The vast amount of information you can get from these sites and from people who have already walked the area you live in or are planning to visit is incredible.
On impulse, to be sure of the facts, I searched online for several place names just using where to walk as my search term: every town I googled gave me extensive, usable results. Moreover, the search also gave me multiple community walks held for charitable concerns which are useful and rewarding to get involved in, and a good way of socializing, meeting people who also like to walk, people who will give you lots of tips for interesting walks.
If you walk alone be sure to take your camera, MP-3, or whatever device you prefer for listening to music, the news or reading. That will make breaks when you sit to eat or rest more interesting. Keep your eyes open for scenery that inspires and try to keep a record of it through photos, sketches, or words. Even though you walk alone you might want to share your experiences with your friends or on Facebook.
This quote by Raymond Inmon encourages you to relish the times you walk alone;
"...If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk..."
If you like to be sociable and enjoy the company, or feel more secure when accompanied by someone, pass the word around that you are looking for walking partners, even if your friends don’t like to walk they may have friends, relatives, or neighbours who do. You might be able to join a walking organization like the ramblers, or even form a club of your own.
Aim to Walk to a Place of Interest
Don’t forget that you can always make your walk interesting by walking to a place of interest, a view, a monument, a gallery or a museum. In fact you can break off anywhere, even meet a friend for coffee, lunch, or tennis. You can go for a swim or catch a movie; anything you want to do with your day is possible, it’s just that you’re wearing flat shoes to do it and saving on bus-fares and petrol―so you are being environmentally friendly, getting fit and enjoying being out and about!
Walk More for Health and Happiness
Charles Dickens seems to have been an advocate of walking as life-therapy;
"...The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose..."
I can only agree with him. Take a long, interesting walk today, and every day!