I have to admit my husband and I are not very active. With him being retired and me working from home at a computer, we probably walk maybe 100 steps a day sometimes. We need to get out there and take a walk. In fact, we only live about a block from the lake (Table Rock Lake in the Missouri Ozarks) and since we bought this house seven years ago, we have only walked down there a total of three times. What’s funny is that we bought this house because we wanted to retire at the lake and we hardly ever get down there. And when we do, we usually drive. Yes, we drive a block. Because there is a lot of stuff to bring with us. Fishing poles, chairs, bait, a cooler, the camera, etc. No way we can walk all that down there, right? But we can start going to the park and walking. There are plenty of them around here. In fact, the first article I wrote for Dave’s Garden was about walking or hiking in the park.

a couple hand in hand walking through a fieldThe Benefits of Walking

There are many benefits to walking as I am sure you all know. For example, walking for approximately a half an hour a day can help reduce your chances of certain illnesses and diseases such as diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, stroke, obesity, and even cancer. It helps burn calories and actually gives you more energy even though you may feel like it is wearing you out at first. If you are like me and are not very active though, do not rush into anything. Get the okay from your doctor and then take it slow.

a young couple hiking Find Out the Facts

When you are ready, do not rush to the nearest park and take on a 10-mile hike. Take a walk around the block first, build up your stamina for a few days or weeks, and then try a short path at the park before you do a long one. Get some information about the trails at the park. At most parks, they will have information available at the information center or online about how long the trails are, whether they are easy or difficult, and whether you will need any special provisions such as water or special shoes. Actually, you should always bring water, a map, and maybe a compass and even some snacks. Grab a backpack, toss in some stuff you may need. It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. You never know what can happen. You may get lost. Also, bring your cell phone. Not only can you use it to take pictures, but you can also call for help or use it as a GPS if you need it.

Mom, dad and child enjoying wakling in the woodsTake Someone with You

Grab the spouse, your kids, grandkids, a friend, or even the dog to go with you. It is always more fun if you take someone with you. And you can give each other encouragement as you need it. Like in my case, I may change my mind after the first quarter mile and decide to cut it short. I will need someone with me who will say, “No way, keep going! You can do it!” Kids and grandkids are great for this. And your dog, they will probably drag you around everywhere and never want to go home so they will give you plenty of reason to keep going. And if you take the kids or grandkids you can use this time to teach them about nature such as the gorgeous flowers and trees along the path, wildlife you may see, and even point out some interesting rocks or footprints of some of the critters in the area. You can also spend this time looking for interesting things like deer rubs or even some deer antlers.

a hand holding a watering can watering a dollar shaped bushEarn Some Money

Did you know that you can actually earn some money while you walk? With this app called HealthyWage.com, you can actually bet how much weight you can lose in a certain amount of time and then get paid when you lose. Isn’t that awesome? I wish I had known about that before I lost 68 pounds! Financial incentives are a real motivation for everyone no matter what you are doing. If you want to lose weight and are serious about it, why not get paid to do it? This app has been featured on “Good Morning America,” The Washington Post,” and the “Today Show” so I believe it is for real and I did a bit of research online and it seems legit. Now, don’t quote me on this though because I did not actually use the app. But if you do and you have any info to share, drop a comment below and let us know. In the meantime, get to the park and take a walk!