A Walk In The Park: From Local Walks to National Park Treks

Walking is the most accessible heart-healthy exercise.  It strengthens the heart muscle, lungs, legs, thighs, and makes you think.  Consider walking in a local park for your next walk, instead of a motorized treadmill.

Central Park in New York City

Two advantages of indoor treadmill walking is that it offers a bad-weather alternative so you don’t skip workouts. Secondly, treadmills are easy to use.

Outdoor walks offer a more interesting trek, than plodding away on a treadmill.  You’re getting fresh air, you’re out in nature, the scenery is engaging, friends can join you, and you can make it a day-long activity, or even a week-long vacation.

If you’re planning to become a day hiker, or serious backpacker, park walking is a good place to begin learning how to handle outdoor terrain, and to test your navigation skills.


When you walk for fitness on an indoor treadmill, you have total control.  At the push of a button, you’re instantly climbing a hill. Outdoors, you have to select your path, and plan ahead.


American parks are small and local, or national, and span hundreds of miles.  The terrain determines the level of difficulty. National Parks offer a variety of graded trail hikes, from novice to advanced. Local parks are easier to navigate, and are a very good place to begin learning how to walk outdoors.

Flat Terrain requires the easiest cardio effort.

Low Up Hill Terrain requires moderate cardio effort.

Steep Up Hill Terrain requires the toughest cardio effort. What goes up, must come down.  In many instances, a steep uphill might be more difficult on the way down.

Walking Pace refers to how fast you’re moving.  Another word for pace, is speed.  A slower pace is easier than a brisk pace.  For cardio training you’ll want to use a brisk pace.  Beginners should start with a slow to moderate pace, on flat terrain, and gradually work up to a more heart-challenging speed.

Dirt Roads, Forested, and Rocky areas will give you footing experience, and teach you how your walking shoes are performing.

Weather Conditions are crucial when walking outdoors.  Know in advance, and plan ahead.  If you’re walking in a local park, it’s easier to leave and run for cover, when the weather turns bad.  If you’re in a national park, you have to know what you’re doing.  At that level, mistakes can be fatal.


Novices should use flat or moderate terrain.  Try walking around a pond, or lake.  Don’t walk alone.  Go with a relative or friend. Bring a lunch, water and snacks.  Monitor your heart rate, and don’t overdo it. Local nature conservancy walks offer plenty of interesting scenery for beginners.


National Parks are breathtaking, and spectacular, especially those that are located in western United Stated.  Novices attempting hiking in national parks, should opt for the easier trails.

The National Parks in these photographs, are in Washington State, Maine, Wyoming, and Utah.  Central Park is New York City’s premier local park.  It covers 843 acres of land.

Irene Pastore is a native New Yorker, health and fitness blogger, and personal trainer. Irene owns this website, and writes all the blog posts. For her complete bio, visit the About Page.

Copyright 2016 Irene Pastore and Tour De Core.com

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