Way back in March, I took a stab at walking the hills in Lake in the Hills instead of on a treadmill at the gym. I gave that up when my allergies came out to play.
Now that fall is here, I decided to give it another shot, and I am so glad I did. As in the spring, walking outside proved to be much more invigorating than walking on a machine. The experience feeds almost all of my senses:
Sight: leaves of various colors, energetic squirrels, an occasional dog walking its human—walking through the neighborhood provides a variety of sights to behold. Best of all, those sights change as I walk. Being on a treadmill is like being the second dog on a sled team: the view doesn’t change.
Smell: With the cooler weather, someone along my route usually has their fireplace going and no smell is quite as satisfying in cool weather as that of a wood-burning fireplace.
Sound: the wind rustling the leaves, the crunch of leaves under my feet, the yapping dog on one block, the deep-throated bark of a big dog on another, the howl of the bloodhound somewhere else, the squawk of geese on the lake—plenty of sensory input for my ears.
Touch: the cool air feels great. It wakes me up. I love the way it nips at my nose.
Motion: not only does walking the hills give me forward motion, it gives me a greater range of motion than the treadmill. The treadmill allows me to walk flat or incline. It doesn’t let me walk downhill (a decline.) Walking the hills does. In that way, it feels like more of a workout—even though it take me less time.
There’s a variety to walking the streets (if you’ll pardon the expression) that the treadmill just can’t provide. I think that’s why I like it so much, and why I’m going to keep walking outside as long as weather permits (read: before the streets become sheets of ice).