Walking in the Fall

Walking in the Fall Although many gyms and fitness centers have reopened in our area, there are a lot of us who are still apprehensive to return to our pre-COVID indoor exercise routine. Now that we’re into the fall season and temperatures have cooled to comfortable levels, it’s a good time to get outside and walk. It may seem simple, but taking a daily walk is not only good for your spine but also for your overall physical and mental health. Another benefit is that walking requires no special equipment except for a good pair of shoes, so it’s easy to get outside and enjoy some healthy and invigorating activity.

The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. You can get your steps in while also reaping health benefits such as:

  • Improved cardiovascular endurance
  • Increased tone in the lower body muscles
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Reduced anxiety and improved sleep

Getting started easy. First, find a comfortable and supportive pair of shoes – a good pair of running sneakers is typically best. Then find a place to walk. Walking on cushioned or rubberized track is best as it absorbs shock. Try to check out the track at your local high school (when school isn’t in session and the track is empty). Walking on grass is good too as it’s also a softer, more cushioned surface. If neither of these options are available, walking on the street is fine too. Just be sure that you wear a good pair of cushioned shoes, stay on the sidewalk if there is one, and wear some brightly colored or reflective clothing so you’re visible to passing cars.

If you’re looking for other local places to take walk here are some suggestions (please remember to bring your mask and to maintain appropriate social distancing):

  1. Blydenburgh County Park, Smithtown, NY
  2. Rocky Point State Pine Barrens Preserve, Rocky Point, NY
  3. Setauket Greenway Trail, Setauket, NY
  4. Heritage Park, Mount Sinai, NY
  5. Cedar Beach, Mount Sinai, NY
  6. Avalon Nature Preserve, Stony Brook, NY
  7. David Weld Sanctuary, Saint James, NY
  8. Prosser Pines Nature Preserve, Middle Island, NY
  9. Laurel Ridge Setauket Woods Nature Preserve, East Setauket, NY
  10. Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park, Port Jefferson, NY
  11. Southaven County Park, Brookhaven, NY
  12. Cranberry Bog Nature Preserve, Riverhead, NY
  13. Veterans Memorial Park, Calverton, NY
  14. Wildwood State Park, Wading River, NY

Here are some recommendations for proper walking form so you can get the most out every step:

  • Move your arms freely
  • Don’t stoop your head or look down as you walk
  • Walk briskly with purpose – get that heart rate up a little bit!
  • Stay hydrated
  • Expect a little soreness in your legs for the first week or two if you’ve been inactive or sedentary recently
  • If you experience any pain or injury that is persists, consult with your healthcare provider


David J. BenEliyahu, DC, DAAPM, DABCSP is the Administrative Director of the Back & Neck Pain Center at Mather Hospital.