Finding a place to walk can often be as challenging as finding time to go for a walk. Both take a little planning to be successful.
Explore your community to find out possible walking locations and routes. Whether large or small, rural or urban, there are safe places to walk. Consider these possibilities:
- Your Neighborhood: Are sidewalks present? If so, are they flat or are they crumbly or bumpy from tree roots? Uneven surfaces can be safety concerns. If sidewalks are not present, how much traffic is on the street or road? Is it safe to walk on the road? If sharing the space with cars, walk so you are facing oncoming traffic so that you can see the vehicles. Be sure to dress so that vehicles can see you.
- Business Districts: There may be some blocks in the downtown business area or a shopping mall that would be great for walking.
- Community, City or State Parks and Recreation Areas: Most of these have walking trails or green space to walk.
- Schools: Check with your local school to see if the gym is open to walkers. With increased security measures, this is more difficult to arrange but ask anyway.
- Community Buildings and Areas: Check out the city auditorium, community center or local fairgrounds. Is there a YMCA or similar facility available?
While exploring the possibilities, ask these questions:
- Is the location available to use?
- What are the rules for use?
- What are the hours of available use?
- Is there a cost to use the facilities or area?
- Do I need permission to use the facility or area?
- Is the location safe?
- Is the location convenient and close by or do I need to drive a distance to get to the facility?
Sign up for special walking events such as 5K walks. These not only provide a great walk on the day of the event, but they also provide new ideas for a walking route as well as a chance to get to know other walkers and find out where they walk.
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans - 2nd Edition, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Why Walk? Why Not!, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
This newsletter has been peer-reviewed. It was updated in 2023.