The poet Walt Whitman wrote that walking under trees caused "large and melodious thoughts" to descend upon him. He was right—nature walks do provide an atmosphere conducive to relaxation and healing.

Fall is the perfect time to take a walking vacation, detach from daily responsibilities and enjoy the crisp air and brilliant foliage. But not everyone has the time or money to travel for a week or even a weekend. The solution? Treat yourself to a one-day walking vacation. Here's how to plan a successful mini-adventure.

Before Pick a date and location a week or so in advance. Choose a natural area you want to explore, whether it's a large park, a rail trail or a hiking area. Try to stay close to home. (You don't want to spend your walking vacation driving!) Locate a map of the area online and print it out to take with you.

Build up your stamina so that a week before your walking mini-vacation you can walk briskly for an hour with no problem. Need new shoes? Make sure to break in hiking boots or walking shoes by wearing them regularly during the week before you set off on your day trip.

If you enlist a walking buddy, make a pact to keep conversation light and focus on your surroundings. This isn't the time to dump your troubles on each other!

During Plan to spend at least three hours on foot. Revel in the sounds and the smells and allow time for sauntering, meandering, taking photos, examining wildflowers or bird watching.

Carry a daypack or fanny pack with

  • snacks and water,
  • binoculars,
  • a cell phone,
  • a crushable hat and rain jacket,
  • sunglasses,
  • your wallet,
  • a bird or wildflower guide,
  • a small first aid kit and
  • sunscreen.

After Satisfy your healthy appetite with a delicious meal after your walk, whether you head to a restaurant for a fancy dinner or opt for a picnic.

Soothe tired feet and muscles with a professional foot or body massage (make an appointment in advance) or a long, luxurious soak in your bathtub.

From our sister publication Diabetes Focus, Fall 2013

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 08 Aug 2013

Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013