Why I love fall walks (Plus 3 ways to make the most of yours)

I love walking pretty much any time of year. The walk is that short bit of time that I get to reconnect with the outdoors, to appreciate the beauty around me, to receive some pretty amazing health benefits, and to let my mind wander on its own – all things that help me love my all. It’s meditation in motion.

Walking in the fall

Photo by Phil Roeder used with permission.

But there are a few things I especially love about walking in the fall.

The air! There is something about the air that feels and smells that much crisper than other times of the year. The trees love that air too. It’s almost as if they are giant lungs, inhaling deeply from the wind and exhaling a sigh of glimmering, shimmering leaves.

And, oh, the scenery. I love the vibrant, almost electric, green moss that zings to life after the first fall shower. The lush contrasts of emerald amidst glowing ambers, reds, bronzes, and golds are spectacular.

I also love the frenzied squirrels that dart here and there, hoping to trick you into thinking they buried an acorn over there when actually they buried it over here. Watching them energizes and motivates me.

The next time you’re out for an autumn walk, here are three ways to make the most of it.

Walk in nature

As recently shared on The Nature of Things, research studies show that those who walked in nature experienced reduced production of stress hormones, lower heart rate, and a drop in blood pressure compared to when they walked in an urban environment. So get out there and get your nature on!

Breathe deeply

When you live on adrenaline, perhaps due to a fast-paced and demanding job, your body tends to be in fight or flight mode all the time. Breathing deeply using the diaphragm is a fast, easy way to turn off the body’s “danger” response. That, in turn, allows the body to more efficiently use up fat stores according to Dr. Libby Weaver, a nutritional biochemist. In her TEDx Talk (embedded below), Dr. Weaver also shares the interesting concept that running stimulates our fight or flight response. So if you’re stressed out (she calls it Rushing Woman’s Syndrome), you may wish to opt for a walk instead of a jog. And take lots of nice, deep breaths.

Push off your toes

I thought I was a great walker until I learned about proper walking technique. It’s all about pushing off your toes! This totally changed walking for me. I started to feel my hamstrings when I walked and—hello!—my butt sprung upwards with every step. I felt self conscious at first. Now though, if my buns aren’t bouncing, I know my stride isn’t right. This video provides a good overview of proper walking form. Enjoy sculpting those cheeks!

My question to you: what do you to make the most of your walks? Share your answer in the comments.

Here is Dr. Weaver’s thought provoking video. Enjoy!

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4 thoughts on “Why I love fall walks (Plus 3 ways to make the most of yours)

  1. Though I can only push off one toe these days, I concur with your recommendations, especially autumn walks ― my favourite time of the year! It is my belief (and there’s probably science to support the assertion) that breathing in the fragrances of the forest are a balm for what ails us. Free aromatherapy, if you like.

    Last fall, despite my wonky right foot, I made it up to Larch Valley, high in the Rockies. I set up my camera as a light snow swept over the ridges, frosting the orange trees (photo at raymondparkerphoto.com) and surrounding alpine meadow.

    I felt energized for days afterward.

    Think I’ll go for a walk in the park.

    • Thanks, Raymond. Your belief about forest aromatherapy is spot on! They covered this in the Nature of Things episode that I linked to in the article if you’re interested in learning more!

      And what stunning photos! The colours you’ve captured are so vibrant. Absolutely love them!

      Enjoy your walk!