If you know me, you probably know that I love grabbing a friend and hitting the rail trail.  I never get tired of my morning walk and get super excited when I meet someone else with the same enthusiasm.  Burning up or freezing cold, I never want to miss...unless of course, its raining (then I sleep in to celebrate).  In all my years of walking all over the world, my favorite was when our friend, Gunhild, took us on a walk up Lovers Lane, where it's tradition to kiss at the top, overlooking the city of Klaksvik!  It was snowing and Nick and I were both all snotty, but the scenery was gorgeous and I remember how happy and in love I felt in that moment!  However, a few years ago, I began to wonder if walking truly was enough daily exercise for me.  So, I did some googling and quickly confirmed that walking is excellent for many reasons!

1.  Catch Up

Walking with loved ones gives you a great chance to catch up on each other's lives.  You basically get their undivided attention for 20 minutes to an hour (depending on the length of your walk).  This is even great for making new friends, as it gives you time to get to know each other without feeling the awkwardness of sitting across from each other at Starbucks and not knowing what to say.  And don't forget, you need "me time" every now and then also!  If you'd prefer to walk alone, this gives you a good chance each day to be quiet and enjoy your own thoughts...some people even use this time to listen to music or pray!

Walking in Klaksvik, Faroe Islands
2.  Go Anywhere

No matter where you are in the world, you can walk.  Just put on some comfortable shoes, dress appropriately and go on an adventure!  Walking in your own neighborhood can be relaxing because you know your route and don't even have to give it any thought.  However, it's especially fun when you are exploring a new city (plus, walking can help you avoid weight gain while enjoying all the new foods)!

Walking in Killybegs, Ireland

3.  Exercise Clothes Optional

With many exercise programs, you need clothes that move, specific shoes to protect your feet, hair in a ponytail and plan on hoping in the shower afterwards.  Not with walking!  I love how you can walk all over a city in your normal street clothes, not break a sweat and still get in a work out!  When we travel, I never take work out clothes, but because we walk so much when visiting new places, we always come back in better shape than we left!

Walking up the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
4.  Physically Good For You

Since walking is low impact, you can still benefit your health without having negative effects on your joints.  Walking helps with strengthening and toning and can even result in weight loss and a glowing complexion!  Many exercise programs are hard to do consistently because of injuries or aging bodies, but walking is something that you will most likely be able to do your entire life!  I believe that walking consistently throughout your entire life would be more beneficial to you and your health than starting and stopping exercise programs and diets throughout your entire life.  I see so many people gain weight, do crazy things to lose it, only to gain it back again.  I don't know about you, but I'd much rather be consistent with good nutrition and daily walks!

Walking in Stirling, Scotland

5.  Mentally Good For You

If you are having trouble concentrating, your mind feels like mush or you've hit a creative block, taking a walk outside will do wonders!  I have noticed that I can leave my house with a problem that I can't seem to solve, but after a good long walk, I return home with a solution.  This is especially true if you walk with a friend that can be a sounding board when you need to get things off of your chest and hear a second opinion.

Walking in Chepare, Bolivia
6.   Emotionally Good For You

Nature is a natural mood booster.  Some mornings I wake up feeling unmotivated, but as soon as I walk out my back door, breathe in some fresh air and start walking, I get an instant pick me up and come back home feeling ready to get things done.  If you walk with a friend or family member, this is also a great time to work on that relationship...everyone needs time with loved ones!

Walking in Cochabamba, Bolivia
7.  Anyone Can Do It

If you can walk, then you can walk for exercise!  Whether you are 18, 38 or 78, this can be "your thing".  You can walk alone or join a friend or two...you could even start a walking club!  You can walk outside or inside on a treadmill.  You can walk super fast or seriously slow.  That's the beauty of it.  You just decide what's best for you and go for it!

Walking in Florence, SC

8.  Furry Friends Approve This Message

Pretty much everyone I know has a dog and most dog's love walks...except Buddy the Bulldog because he is fat and lazy.  Dogs are man's best friend and I bet you'd both enjoy going on a walk together!

Walking in Greenville, SC

9.  Make Memories

Sure, it might be "remember that time that you almost stepped on a copperhead?!"...or it might be "remember that time when we found that enormous snapping turtle?!"...but, it could also be "remember that time we went walking in the Redwoods and we couldn't believe how big they were and then we turned the corner and found a deer just watching us?!".  That's why it's fun to go with a friend or family member and share the experience.  But if you go alone, try taking your camera with you and being on the look out for things that stand out and make you smile!

Walking in the Redwoods National Park

So, what do you think about walking?  Do you love it like me or have I now convinced you to jump in?  Do you live close to me and want to join me for a morning walk?

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