I love walking and hiking. I do it year round — it’s one of my favorite ways to relax and recharge. When I recently saw an article about how walking in nature is really good for the brain, my first reaction was, “of course!” Scientists are just confirming what I think most of us already know — that being in nature is deeply healing.
There’s something particularly special about walking in the fall, as the leaves turn to beautiful reds and yellows and the air grows crisp. I always feel so energized by being out in the changing weather. I also love to reward myself with some cider or Dreamy Hot Chocolate afterwards.
I feel especially lucky to live in Reston, not too far from my office. It’s a particularly good place for someone who loves the outdoors because there are so many trails for walking, hiking, and biking. There are dozens of miles of pathways that weave through Reston, some right by the town center, and others stretching around the edges. Check out this helpful series of maps for a closer look!
Even for a regular walker like myself, a winter hike can sometimes be a tough sell (hot chocolate afterwards or not). So I think of the fall as a great time to double down on walking, and get in some extra steps before it gets really cold.
But I know that not everyone is as excited to go for a walk as I often am. So my suggestion is to figure out how to make it fun! One way is to start a walking group with your friends and neighbors. This can be really simple — everyone can agree to meet on the corner of your street at 6 PM for a walk through the neighborhood. Or it can be a little more adventurous — maybe you all pick a trail and hike it one Saturday morning.
Even if you don’t like walking alone, it’s a lot of fun with friends. It’s a terrific way to combine exercise and the face to face human contact that most of us want more of. It’s also an opportunity to better get to know the neighborhood or area that you live in, and branch out from our home-work-grocery store-home travel routines.
So often the healing we need is right in front of us. As much as I’d like anyone who’s feeling stressed or worn out to book a chiropractic appointment, I’d also prescribe a walk in nature. It’s there for all of us; it’s free; and it’s a great place to connect with ourselves, our friends and our planet.
See you on the trail!