Want to ramp up your activity level without a lot of fuss, bother and expense? Take a walk.

Fitness experts know that walking is one of the simplest and most beneficial of exercises, boosting metabolism, building lower body and core strength, and giving your heart and lungs a good workout. Walking can be tailored to your individual fitness level and goals, from a gentle stroll around the block to a vigorous exercise in endurance.

Fresh air and the sights and sounds of your quiet neighborhood, the downtown business district or a local trail are added benefits. Nighttime walking under a starry sky or a ghostly moon is a special treat. In very cold weather or icy conditions, some people opt for indoor walking at a gym or inside the local mall before the stores open.

Whether you choose to walk alone, with a buddy or in the company of a friendly pooch (my cats often follow me around the block), walking requires no special equipment and little planning. So lace up your sneakers — snow boots work fine, too — and head right out the door.

Want to find a walking route near you? Healthy Maine Walks, a public health program of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention,  provides information on indoor or outdoor walking routes.


Meg Haskell

Meg Haskell is a curious second-career journalist with two grown sons, a background in health care and a penchant for new experiences. She lives in Stockton Springs. Email her at mhaskell@bangordailynews.com.