I still do some at home workouts. But I really feel too strongly about getting out in nature and just moving. You can walk, hike, run, swim, etc… But the added benefits to getting outside and away from technology for a hot minute is well worth it. At home and gym workouts are awesome for changing up your routine, getting out of the rain and snow, or just meeting other people and that energy vibe you get from working out around other people. But stepping away from the TV, the computers and the tablets can change your entire mental outlook for the day. So get outside and take a walk!
“Mason Neck Park is located at 7301 High Point Road, Lorton VA 22079, just a stone’s throw away from Washington D.C.”
First Landing State Park – Virginia Beach, Virginia
We love First Landing trails for hiking/walking and even trail runs. We love nature and the trails are easy to navigate. One of the trails lead to a beautiful hidden beach. First Landing it’s such a lovely place to be! There are tons of trails for hiking, biking and running. There is a trail center with maps, an informative museum,gifts, restrooms and a venue for special occasions. This is a great place for weddings, trail side or beach side. Where you can find me hiking the most.
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge – Virginia Beach, Virginia
Beautiful wildlife refuge and great spots for photo ops! It’s really peaceful at Back Bay. Off season some areas are restricted though so check with the websites for more info!
Northwest River Park – Chesapeake, Virginia
Pretty little park with paved walkways.
Chesapeake Arboretum – Chesapeake, Virginia
Very shady canopy. Well maintained trails. Tucked away behind a shopping plaza of all things. Take bug spray!
Norfolk Botanical Gardens – Norfolk, Virginia
Yes you have to pay for admission. But you are surrounded by beauty every step of the way. They have a snack bar and lots of places to sit if you get weary. Some areas are not shaded very well so it can get super hot in the middle of summer mid-afternoon. I love this place for a hike, even if it isn’t your normal “hike” type area.
Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve – Portsmouth, Virginia
Heavy salt marsh environment. Beautiful trails that wind through the surrounding forest and a big lake.
Sandy Bottom Nature Park – Hampton, Virginia
456 acres of wilderness and wildlife, with 8.6 miles of loop trail surrounding a lake as well as a nature center with educational information. The trails are accessible year-round, are great for any skill level and dogs are welcome as well as long as they are on a leash. This is a beautiful hike!
Newport News Park – Newport News, Virginia
Pretty view, isn’t it? This park offers 9 trails that cover approximately 30 miles, featuring a lake and plenty activities from bird watching to forested paths, fields of wildflowers, canoeing, as well as historical sites. The trails are considered suitable for all skill levels and can be fairly popular on nice weekend days, so if you prefer seclusion, get there early. Dogs are also welcome as well but must be on a leash.
Improved cardio-respiratory fitness for your heart, lungs, and blood vessels
Improved muscular fitness
Lower risk of early death
Lower risk of coronary heart disease
Lower risk of stroke
Lower risk of high blood pressure
Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
Lower risk of high cholesterol
Lower risk of high triglycerides
Lower risk of colon cancer
Lower risk of breast cancer
Increased bone density or a slower loss bone and bone strength
With kids it lessens the chance of developing obesity
Better quality sleep
More vitamin D absorption
Get out and walk 💚😀
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
― John Muir
Hiking & walking in nature, for me, is blissful. And each season brings it’s own bit of wonder and wisdom to the hike. I never really sat down and wondered why I love to hike so much. I mean, yeah I love nature and getting any exercise is a pure endocrine giving burst while getting my body in better shape. But I knew it was more than that, something deeper, almost spiritual in form. I found a sense of peace as my footsteps hit the earth and my mind would wander to, wow, to nowhere, and yet everywhere all at the same time. But not in a rushed getting through the day mode, or not in the chaotic work essence. No, it was within a place of complete release. Complete mental relaxation. And that was when I realized, without knowing it, I was meditating by accident.
Having done meditation in a seated position in my home, and on the beach, I knew exactly what meditation was. But this was different, almost a purer meditation. I realized that my eyes drinking in the trees, the beaches, or the streams was guiding my meditation deeper within.
You don’t even have to believe in meditation for meditation to have effect. Meditation is nothing much more than allowing your mind to be still, and then, once still to allow it to wander to places of peace and zero stress. And nature is a remedy in itself for stress. Why do you think major white collar corporations do retreats to the wilderness camps?
In our hectic world of technology and as we rush from job to second job, or from work to making dinner for the family. Or when we have to study relentlessly into the wee hours of night just to get up to go take the test and a full day of classes. We forget to take time to really turn off. Many people turn to the TV to do that, when in fact it may distract, but it doesn’t help your brain find peace. It’s just living someone else’s fictional life instead of your own.
Meditation is hard on some. They don’t know the first steps, or just can’t do it automatically, can’t shut out the world outside. It takes practice. And patience. I think walking meditation is in some ways an easier starting point at meditating 101 because your body is still being allowed to move, while quieting the racket in your mind. I highly recommend being in nature though, not on a busy street where you have to watch for traffic, lights and hear blaring sirens and car honks. A peaceful little park will do.
I have no doubt that National Running Safety Month was likely created by a running store or brand to bring people into the store and for good mojo with the runners. But that’s ok, because safety is something that runners should be worried about, and not just in November!!
As a runner, (or walker or hiker) safety should always be #1 before anything else. Precautions in advance and using some simple tools can help you be safer and allow you to get your run done knowing you are prepared.
Ran across a good comprehensive safety guide for runners or walker, even hikers will see a few good tips. Lace Up Local has tips for running safely in the dark, safety when you run alone, safety in the rain or inclement weather conditions and safety for women.
Road ID App – You can select up to five people from your phone’s contact list to alert when you go for a run (and the best part is the app is FREE!)
Speaking of Road ID, they sell fantastic little wrist ID’s that you can personalize. You can have you name, phone number, blood type, medical alerts, etc all engraved on a plate on the band that you choose. This is a smart idea, especially if you run, hike, or walk alone. If something happens to you like you get hit by a car or are unconscious for some reason, police and medical personnel can have vital info they need for quick action. Many don’t like to take along bulky wallets and drivers license can easily be lost. But the fun part is that you can personalize them!
I also recommend wearing some type of reflective clothing. There are products out there from inexpensive wrist bands to outrageously (but super cool looking) vest lights. Lit shoelaces are a cute touch, and I like the heal lights they have everywhere for your shoes.
But whatever you buy or don’t buy, whatever safety app you choose, or not, be safe out there!! And yes, any lights on shoes has been scientifically proven to make you a faster runner! Or so I like to believe.
Hiking. I like hiking more than any other physical exercise. And that in itself says a lot.Taking in nature in all it’s grand forms; mountains, trails, beaches, parks, etc… is very grounding and calming to me. Very meditative and gives time for introspection or even just the ability to shut the chatter of the mind completely out and just take in the scenery and feel the earth below my feet. I recently learned there is a term for what I like to do and it’s called Mindful Hiking. I like to let the experts do the talking so here is more info and ideas about stepping out on a meditative type of hiking experience!
Physical activity. Beautiful scenery. Who doesn’t like the occasional hike in the great outdoors? And when you add a little extra awareness to the experience, your outing can benefit both your body and your mind.
I smoked, I ate garbage food, I had never even tried to run, ever. Not even when I was in school. I sat around all day with self loathing that just grew and grew. I was ashamed. How I looked, how I treated myself, my own self abuse with food. And even worse, my husband and I supported each other in the behaviors that were making us unhealthy. Neither of us would just say NO. We ate more, smoked more, sat more and moved less.
My husband quit smoking cold turkey.
HAD TO STOP. The day I quit smoking, I still cheated. While wearing the patch, I SMOKED (A HUGE NO NO). I knew how horrible that was, how I was playing russian roulette with my life. So instead I decided to try e-cigarettes with low nicotine. I thought this would help me smoke less. Haha, right. I nearly poisoned myself. I took in more and more nicotine. I still remember my lips tasting like nicotine. It was still a DRUG, albeit a legal one, but still and addictive DRUG.
Finally, I got angry, angry at myself, angry at the world for even creating cigarettes. And I quit, cold turkey. The most difficult two weeks or so, ever in my life. And in retrospect, the proudest I have ever been of myself. It was a turning point for both of us.
After I had quit smoking (7 years April 2017), I knew I could do ANYTHING! After tons of different “diets” and too much time worrying about an ideal image. I decided the only real solution to lose weight had nothing to do with diets, it was MY diet, my nutrition. I needed to change the way I looked at food. My entire relationship with food was abusive. I needed proper nutrition, not a DIEt!
I also needed to MOVE. I’d never been a runner. I walked a couple charity walks ages ago. And I just remembered sore feet, blisters, and huffing and puffing from smoking. Now that I was a non smoker I should get even my lungs back in shape and start moving more. I remember the first day out to “run” with my pretty new running shoes. In my mind, I was gonna fly! But instead I couldn’t even run 30 seconds before I was out of breath. My lungs were in bad shape.
So walk, and walk more, and walk faster and faster, one day you will run! And one day I will be a runner. I won’t lie, this is hard for me. I get no joy in running like most runners do. This was another challenge I would have to face. In 2013 I signed up for my first race. Walking the whole way, out of breath and sore. But I was so stinkin proud. Remembering where I came from to reach this point.
Jump ahead and I have walked 5k’s, 7k’s and an 8k. I am planning to one day do a 10k and a half marathon. No marathon in my future though. I love the shorter races. I get bored out there!
My training is now thanks to Jeff Galloway. I am doing a run/walk/run method. I will eventually run a whole 5k. But I have to trust the process and respect where I am in the process. So what that I can’t just go out and run? I am alive and I am still breathing and there are more miles to go. I do more every day and I will gain health every day.
I challenge you to get out there and walk, slog, jog, run, workout, hike. Toss out bad self abusive habits and form a new healthy YOU. Get out there and be alive in your life!
Update: This is now what I use and recommend for learning to run – https://runningtozen.org/2019/03/30/run-walk-interval-training/
“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”
― Dean Karnazes