Many people enjoy walking for exercise or as a way to get from place to place.
But can something as simple and ubiquitous as walking truly be considered a hobby?
With the right mindset and approach, walking can become a rewarding hobby with numerous benefits.
Walking As A Form Of Exercise
One of the most obvious reasons people walk regularly is for physical exercise. Going on frequent walks is an easy way to increase daily activity levels and improve cardiovascular health.
Walking is a low-impact exercise that is gentle on the joints. It can be done at any age and doesn’t require special skills or equipment. For those new to exercise, walking is often recommended as a safe way to get started with an active lifestyle.
Regular walking has been shown to:
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Help manage weight and body fat
- Increase energy levels
- Improve mood and reduce stress
- Build strength in the legs, hips, and glutes
Getting in at least 30 minutes of moderate walking per day, 5 days a week, can provide significant health improvements. Turning walking into a consistent habit is a simple step everyone can take to lead a more active, healthy life.
Walking As A Social Activity
For many people, walking is not something they do alone – it’s a social activity. Going for walks with family, friends, co-workers, or pets can help strengthen relationships and allow for quality bonding time.
Joining a walking group or club is a great way to meet new people who share a common interest in walking. Having others to walk with provides social motivation to get out and move. It also creates opportunities to explore new places together.
Many charities and causes host sponsored walking events as fundraisers. Participating in these walks allows people to connect with others who care about the same cause. The shared activity builds camaraderie and a sense of community.
Walking and talking with loved ones, colleagues, and new acquaintances is a simple pleasure that engages both the mind and body. Turning walks into social gatherings helps build meaningful connections with others.
Walking As A Creative Outlet
Walking can also be a time for creative thinking and problem-solving. The rhythm of walking has a way of getting the mind off “autopilot” and opening it up to new ideas.
Writers, artists, composers, and other creatives have long used walking as a way to boost imagination and inspiration. The author Henry David Thoreau was known to walk for hours while developing ideas for his essays and books.
Steve Jobs often had meetings with colleagues while walking because he felt the activity sparked creativity. Research suggests walking improves verbal fluency and other cognitive functions involved in creative thinking.
Beyond structured creative pursuits, walking can provide mental space to reflect, imagine, ponder life’s big questions, or see things from a new perspective. Allowing the mind to wander while walking opens up possibilities that may be missed when always focused on a set task.
The Health Benefits Of Walking
From physical fitness to mental well-being, walking has extensive evidence-backed health benefits. Here are some of the top ways regular walking aims to improve health:
Improves heart health – Walking lowers risks like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. It burns calories and reduces body fat, making it effective for weight loss and management.
Strengthens bones and muscles – Walking provides weight-bearing exercise that builds bone density. It also builds strength and endurance, especially in the lower body. This makes walking an ideal activity for older adults concerned about bone and muscle loss.
Reduces stress – Walking releases feel-good endorphins and helps manage the body’s stress response. It can prevent tension from building up while also providing an outlet for releasing stress. Many people report improved mood after a brisk walk.
Boosts mental stimulation – Gentle exercise from walking increases blood flow to the brain and may spur nerve cell growth in areas involved with memory and learning. Walking keeps the mind active and may help prevent age-related cognitive decline.
Improves sleep – Studies show people who walk regularly fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake up less often during the night. Walking helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm for more restful sleep.
The wide range of physical and mental health benefits make walking one of the easiest lifestyle changes for improving well-being at any age.
Can Walking Improve My Mood?
Many people attest to feeling happier and more positive after going for a walk, even if they felt stressed or down before their walk. But does science back up the notion that walking can improve your mood?
Research has found clear links between walking and enhanced mental health:
- Walking releases mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin and endorphins in the brain. These chemicals regulate mood and prevent depression.
- Spending time outdoors while walking exposes people to sunlight, triggering the brain to produce serotonin and reducing anxiety.
- The rhythmic nature of walking has a meditative quality that reduces stress and induces calm.
- Walking provides a chance to clear the head, gain perspective on problems, and refocus thoughts in a more positive direction.
- Social walks allow for engaging conversation that builds connections and combats loneliness.
Studies even show walking is just as effective as medication and psychotherapy for relieving mild to moderate depression. Combining a walking routine with other positive lifestyle habits can significantly improve both mood and mental outlook.
So if you’re feeling low or anxious, consider taking a walk. Even a short 10-15 minute stroll could give your mood an uplift!
See Also: Is Working Out a Hobby? Here’s Why
How Can I Make Walking More Enjoyable?
For those seeking to make walking a regular hobby, finding ways to make it fun and engaging is key to sticking with it long-term. Here are some tips for making walks more enjoyable:
- Change up your route – Take new paths so the scenery stays interesting. Look for parks, waterfronts, historic areas, or nature trails to explore.
- Walk somewhere new – Rather than strolling around your neighborhood, walk to run local errands, go sightseeing, or reach an intended destination.
- Listen to audiobooks or podcasts – Fun, interesting audio makes the time pass quickly. Just be sure to stay aware of your surroundings.
- Track your walks – Using a fitness tracker or app lets you monitor your speed, distance, route, etc. Seeing your progress can be highly motivating.
- Invite others to join – Walking with a friend, family member, or dog improves safety and gives you company. Joining a group walk also adds social motivation.
- Take nature photographs – Documenting plants, wildlife, landscapes, or architecture you see along your walk gives you a creative goal.
- Play games – Makeup scavenger hunts by looking for certain objects, colors, etc. Geocaching apps lead you to hidden surprises.
A rewarding walking hobby ultimately comes down to mindset. Look at walks as a gift rather than an obligation. Appreciating the sights, sounds, and sensations turns walking into a joy.
Finding A Local Walking Group To Join
One great way to turn walking into an enriching hobby is to join a walking group. Walking with others provides social motivation, new friendships, and opportunities you may not otherwise seek out. Here are some tips on finding a walking group in your area:
- Outdoor gear stores – Many outfitters host group hikes and walks. REI is one popular option, but local gear shops often have their groups.
- Hiking clubs – Organizations like the Sierra Club have chapters across the country focused on outdoor activities like hiking and walking. Most welcome all experience levels.
- Walking nonprofit groups – Some health organizations and nonprofits run local walking programs open to the public. America Walks has listings in many cities.
- Meetup.com – Search for walking or hiking on sites like Meetup to find groups welcoming new members. Great way to meet locals.
- Ask at senior centers – Nearby senior and community centers may have weekly walking groups appropriate for all ages to join.
- Check local event calendars – Many walking fundraisers and challenge events allow individuals to register and participate.
- Start your own – Get family, friends, or neighbors together and brainstorm walking routes, dates, and times that work for everyone.
Having a group to walk with makes it more enticing to get outside and walk regularly. You’re able to explore new places together while enjoying good company and conversation.
Interesting And Scenic Places To Walk
Beyond your neighborhood, there are endless interesting locations to explore on foot. Getting out of your usual walking comfort zone opens you up to new people, sights, and experiences. Here are some ideas for scenic urban and nature walking destinations:
- Public gardens – Many cities have sprawling gardens open to walk through like Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
- Waterfronts – Walking along harbors, lakes, rivers, or beaches combines sightseeing with fresh air.
- Historic districts – Sites with preserved architecture, monuments, and landmarks bring history to life.
- Downtowns – Urban cores often have great walking infrastructure to explore shops and culture.
- Public parks – Ramble through landscape designs, trails, statues, and people-watching.
- College campuses – Universities often have expansive, walkable grounds to get lost in.
- Hiking trails – Find trails through hilly forests, along ridges, or to scenic overlooks.
- Lakeside paths – Walk routes that hug the edge of lakes and get you close to the water.
- Beaches – Walking along beaches alternates views of ocean/lake waters with neighborhoods.
- Botanical gardens – Designed gardens make for peaceful, flower-filled walks among nature.
- Riverwalks – Paths following rivers and creeks add sightseeing to nature walks.
- Birding trails – Spot local species and wildlife along paths made for birdwatching.
Seeking out new terrain makes walking continually interesting. Let each walk be an opportunity to explore somewhere you’ve never been before.
Things You Can Learn While Walking
Many people listen to podcasts or audiobooks during long walks. This allows them to stay mentally engaged while improving their knowledge of topics of interest.
In addition to structured learning, while walking, there are subtle lessons and observations picked up when moving thoughtfully through the world on foot.
Here are some examples of things you may open yourself up to learning during mindful walks:
- Discoveries about your surroundings – Notice architecture, public art, landscaping, social patterns, and other details you overlook when driving.
- Reflections on life – Walking creates mental space and perspective for pondering purpose, relationships, career, and personal growth.
- Connection to nature – Observe plants and animals while pondering your place in the natural ecosystem.
- Knowledge of other people – Watch, listen to, and even chat with other walkers to gain insight into how others live.
- Creative inspirations – Unexpected creative ideas or solutions to problems may spark while you walk.
- Self-knowledge – Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and reactions during walks for greater self-awareness.
- Life skills – Navigating new places builds spatial orientation, planning routes exercises cognitive skills.
Beyond formal education, walking allows for philosophical ponderings, creative breakthroughs, and deep reflections. The simple act of moving through space can teach us much about the world and ourselves. We just need to walk with open senses.
So in short – yes, walking absolutely can be considered a legitimate hobby!
With a purposeful approach, it goes far beyond physical exercise to also provide social, mental, and spiritual enrichment. Turning walks into a consistent pastime rewards you with better health, relationships, knowledge, and inner growth.
The benefits are as endless as the possible places to explore on foot.
FAQs about Is Walking a Hobby?
What do you call walking as a hobby?
You can call walking as a hobby “recreational walking.” It refers to walking regularly for leisure and enjoyment rather than just for transportation or exercise.
Is exercise considered a hobby?
Yes, exercise like walking can be considered a hobby if it is an activity you do consistently by choice during free time for personal enjoyment and satisfaction.
What do you call someone who likes to walk?
Someone who enjoys walking regularly by choice can be called an avid walker or walking enthusiast.
Is dog walking a hobby?
Dog walking can certainly be considered a hobby, as it combines physical activity with caring for a pet. It provides exercise along with companionship.
Is walking a good hobby?
Walking is an excellent hobby since it improves physical and mental health, provides relaxation, and allows time for reflection. It’s accessible to most people and free of cost.
Can I put walking as a hobby in my resume?
Walking could be included in the “interests” section of a resume, demonstrating you lead an active lifestyle and enjoy being outdoors. Just be specific, like “Walking – a member of a city hiking club.”
Should I walk in the morning or evening?
Mornings and evenings are both lovely times for walking. Choose the time of day that best fits your schedule and preferences. Mornings provide invigoration while evenings can help unwind from a long day.
How long/far should I walk each day?
Aim for 30-60 minutes of walking per day. A good goal for distance is anywhere from 2-5 miles. Build up your duration and distance gradually if you’re new to daily walking. Going too hard too soon risks injury. Listen to your body and take rest days as needed.