Four or five days a week, I walk/hike the same 5.1 path in a beautiful park nearby. Then once or twice a week, a take a longer hike with a good friend or my husband – sometimes at the same park, sometimes a different location. And every once in a while, I get to really shake it up and go somewhere completely different.
Last weekend, we went to Assateague Island, a state and national park in Maryland. The only way that you can stay overnight at Assateague is to camp – so camp we did. https://www.nps.gov/asis/index.htm
There is something so peaceful, but still a great workout walking along the shore in the sand. I prefer barefoot sand walking – I like the feel of the sand squishing between my toes.
Sand walking has many benefits:
- You burn more calories. That is always good, right? You can burn up to 50% more calories walking in sand.
- You sink into the sand while walking, so you work different muscles than you do when hiking on other surfaces and you give your muscles more of a work-out. According to my research, I read that scientists feel that it takes 2.1 to 2.7 more times the energy to walk on sand. Not only that, the movement of walking on sand strengthens your calves, quads and glutes.
- Walking in the sand – barefoot – also helps to relax you and helps all those little nerves in your feet connect to the earth.
- Which ties into – earthing. Earthing is, basically, receiving energy from the earth while walking, standing, whatever barefoot. https://www.earthing.com/what-is-earthing/
As far as Assateague, beach camping can be extreme, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Listening to the waves at night and star gazing by the fire can’t be beat. Unlike many of those camping around us, we didn’t plug in at night – after all, we were camping.
The nature itself is worth hiking in new locales. While we have lots of water in PA., we don’t have seagulls, wild ponies, horseshoe crabs and other wildlife. And of course, we don’t have the ocean. It was too cold to swim, but just sitting and watching the waves was enough.
Where is your favorite place to shake up your hiking rout ine?