Walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health and wellness. Just 30 minutes of walking each day can increase cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) capacity, strengthen bones, improve balance, reduce body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, joint stiffness, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free, can be done any time of the day, doesn’t require any special equipment, and can be done at your own pace.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week. Adding a brisk walk of 30 minute or more at least five times a week can help hit this target. (“Brisk” means that you can still talk, but not sing, and you may be puffing slightly.) Low-impact activities such as walking pose little health risk, but check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program or physical activity. If it’s too difficult to walk for 30 minutes at one time, try 10 minute sessions three times a day and gradually build to longer walks.
With numerous natural surface trails in parks and neighborhoods, tracks at community centers, self-guided tours such as the Urban Trail, and 8 miles of paved greenways, the City of Asheville offers a variety of ways to enjoy the city while walking. Walking for fun and fitness isn’t limited to strolling by yourself, though. There are various clubs, venues, and strategies you can use to make walking an enjoyable and social part of your daily life.
Fit 50 Challenge
If tracking your progress each week motivates you to get moving, register for the free Fit 50 Challenge. The city-wide celebration has community members completing 50 miles between February 1-April 1 by walking, running, or rolling. All participants receive a collectable sticker to display as a badge of pride with the top finishers receiving prizes including an Apple Watch and AirPods.
StoryWalk® in the Park
Read while you walk on outdoor story trails that rotate between Weaver Park, Jake Rusher Park, and Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Center. Follow Asheville Parks & Recreation on Facebook and Instagram for the latest book title and location information.
Walking and Hiking Clubs
The Asheville Mall Walking Club walks, talks, and window shops on Fridays, meeting outside of Barnes & Noble Booksellers at 10:30 a.m. If refreshing conversations and relaxing music are your style, Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Center hosts a Jazz Walk on the first and fourth Thursday of every month at noon. Senior Treks is a low-impact hiking club offering leisurely-paced hikes for adults 50+ years-old once a month.
Looking for more free and low-cost wellness activities? Download the AVL Rec app for iPhone, search programs online, or browse Asheville Park & Recreation’s programming guide for the latest opportunities and updates.
The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, Vermont, and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. StoryWalk® is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson.