Read This Article, Published on CNN
You’ll often read that walking is one of the best forms of exercise out there. It’s easy, for one thing. Most of us can walk, unless we’re differently abled. It’s also accessible. You can walk in your house, around the block, in a parking lot, at work, in the mall, etc. Walking is cheap, too. While it helps to have good shoes and clothing appropriate to the weather or your setting, you can make do with what you have. You can even walk barefoot.
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Some people consider hiking to be the same as walking. In some ways, this is true. You’re putting one foot in front of the other in a similar speed and fashion. And while hiking generally involves being out in nature, you can strap on a backpack, grab some trekking poles and do an urban hike in a city setting.
That being said, most of us likely have the same understanding of hiking vs. walking. Hiking involves trails through natural areas. The trails can be paved, boardwalk, grass, dirt or rocks. Many hikers carry some kind of day-pack or backpack with water, snacks and other necessities, such as a first-aid kit or extra socks. Hiking can be very easy – think strolling along a flat boardwalk over some wetlands – or quite difficult, like a trek along the remote Arizona Trail.
But If You Have a Choice of Hiking vs. Walking, Which Is Better?
I don’t want to repeat the information you can read in the CNN article I wrote on this topic. So I’ll just say this: It depends upon your goals. And both activities are great. I walk all the time when I’m not hiking, and even when I am! On the days I hit a trail town, I’m often walking around to stores, the laundromat, restaurants, etc. Or, if I’m lucky enough to have an extra day off, I may walk to see the top local sites.
So my advice is this: If you’ve strictly been a walker to date, try hiking. Hiking comes in numerous forms, and doesn’t necessarily involve remote, strenuous terrain, dirt and scary critters. And if you’re not a walker, try it anyway. Instead of running or cycling or taking a class at the gym, head outside for an easy stroll or a power walk. You may just be pleasantly surprised by the experience.