Take a Walk on the Wild Side, Literally

By Karla

The thought of spending time in the great outdoors can be overwhelming for people who aren’t accustomed to it. Not everyone is an instant adventurer. For those folks who want to try an outdoor park activity, or spend time in nature, here are some tips to make the transition more easily.

  1. Start your outdoor activity by walking. Pick a place to start. Choose a park or historic site close to home that has easily accessed trails that aren’t too steep. Take a partner with you with you for motivation and safety. See if there is a walking program or group at your local state park.
  2. Don’t make your expedition last too long. Start out for shorter periods or time and build up to longer. Small successes will keep you happy and motivated.
  3. Don’t worry about how much more experience someone else may have over you or if they are in better shape than you. Everyone was a beginner at one time.
  4. Relax and enjoy the scenery. If you do an activity too quickly or too strenuously to begin with, you may miss out on something beautiful about your surroundings and its natural inhabitants.
  5. As you progress you could branch out to another activity at a Georgia State Park or Historic Site that offers programs on archery, paddling, birding or even camping.

One of the best ways to get outside is to take a walk with a group. According to Harvard Heath, the benefits of “Walking for 2.5 hours a week—that’s just 21 minutes a day—can cut your risk of heart disease by 30%. In addition, this do-anywhere, no-equipment-required activity has also been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and keep you mentally sharp. In fact, according to some estimates, walking regularly could save Americans over $100 billion a year in health care costs. Even a quick one-minute jaunt pays off.” For more information refer to Harvard’s website at https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/walking-for-health

Your local state park offers two clubs to help you get started on walking the trails and keep you motivated. The first is the Tails on Trails Club - dog not necessary but definitely welcome. This club encourages dog owners to take their canine companions with them to walk and hike the trails. Choose from 12 of 42 parks to complete the challenge. For more information visit GaStateParks.org/TailsOnTrailsClub.

As the desire to spend more time outside grows try your feet at more challenging hiking and join the Canyon Climbers Club. Don’t be overwhelmed! Take these hikes easy and slow with a snack and plenty of water to help you stay energized. For more information go to GaStateParks.org/CanyonClimbersClub.

We are here to help you have confidence. There is no rush or time limit to your success. The benefits or being outside and quietly learning more about your beautiful earth and its creatures will long outweigh the benefits of being afraid to try something new.