I think walking is the best and most economical form of recreation. It is considered one of our nation’s favorite participation sports around fitness. Just head out the door and walk around your neighborhood on sidewalks, or take hiking trails in state, county or city parks.

Not only does walking offer peace, time for thought and an opportunity to appreciate nature’s world, but it is also one of most beneficial forms of general exercise.

Early September is a great time to walk or hike (I usually think of a hike as a long walk). Now is the time to see touches and patches of fall foliage colors. Virginia creeper vines in trees and on fences are beginning to look like red garlands. Sumac shrubs are colorful along pathways, displaying tones of red. Green ash and eastern cottonwood trees have some sunny-yellow leaves in with the green. In wetlands, cattail leaves look mostly green but have turned about 20 percent tan-brown. Some of the loudest sounds at this time of year come from grasshoppers, crickets and cicadas. Ripe wild grapes offer a refreshing snack. Common milkweed pods are starting to open to shed their seeds on silver-white carriers.

Physicians and health educators agree that what a business person, a teacher or student, or anyone who works in a rather sedentary way, needs at the end of the day is not a stimulant or tranquilizer but a brisk walk of a mile or two. Walk and enjoy some of nature’s wonders.


Jim Gilbert’s Nature Notes are heard on WCCO Radio at 7:15 a.m. Sundays. His observations have been part of the Minnesota Weatherguide Environment Calendars since 1977. He taught and worked as a naturalist for 50 years.