Walking is one of life’s simplest pleasures. There is so much to see and do in the world; seeing and doing on foot can help us feel that little bit more connected to the world around us, while improving our physical and mental health in a big way. But how exactly – and why should your next holiday be a walking one?
The Beauty of Walking
Walking is far more than a standard way of getting from A to B. It is a serious contender for beneficial exercise, as well as an engaging way to see more of the world around you. Walking has innumerable benefits to health and mental wellbeing – and can expose you to new experiences and landscapes in the most immersive of ways.
For starters, walking on a regular basis can reduce your risk of suffering a heart attack significantly, by lowering your blood pressure as well as contributing to overall weight loss. Regular walks keep your joints moving and can stave off the onset of arthritis as a result. There are also studies indicating that walking can reduce the risk of breast cancer in women by as much as 14%.
The above benefits are all physical in nature, but it is also true that walking comes with generous mental health benefits. For starters, getting off the couch and out into the wider world can improve mood generally, but walking as a form of light exercise can produce dopamine and also reduce anxiety.
Walking can be enjoyed pretty much anywhere, but you might not feel so enthused about touring your neighborhood alone. Joining a walking tour can give you guidance and company, while exposing you to incredible locations and views along the way. Of course, there are some walking routes that stand out amongst the rest, for their terrain and the unique views they offer. Here are just three of those routes:
The Great Ocean Walk, Australia
Australia’s Great Ocean Walk is a 110km route that skirts the south coast of Victoria and takes in the majesty of the Great Otway National Park along the way. The route starts at Apollo Bay near Torquay, weaves through beaches and rainforests and over cliffs, before culminating at the famed Twelve Apostles rock formation.
Inca Trail, Peru
The Inca Trail is a world-famous trek in South America, that links three pre-existing routes into one long trail to the incredibly-preserved mountain citadel Macchu Picchu. The trail takes in mountain and forest alike – and much of it utilizes Incan paving!
Shikoku Pilgrimage, Japan
The Shikoku Pilgrimage is a majestic trail that covers nearly 750 miles, taking in 88 temples in a route that encircles the island of Shikoku. The route is a beautiful one but can take up to six weeks to complete – and also dictates the use of traditional garb to complete properly.