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Step up your wellness with an autumn walk

Fall is here! And with it comes nature’s simple remedy to improve your well-being: Go for a walk. 

It’s the perfect season to be outdoors in North Carolina.  

  • Temperatures are becoming comfortable.  
  • The air is fresh and crisp with lower humidity.  
  • The scenery is stunning, whether you are walking in the spectacular mountains, a colorful forest trail in the Piedmont, or along the peaceful coast. 

Fall even smells and sounds amazing. Nothing says fall like the smoky scent of a neighbor’s fireplace on a cool morning, or hearing geese fly overhead while you’re walking. 

Why I love walking in October

Besides the perfect temps and gorgeous scenery, walking in the fall is particularly meaningful to me. It was in October, 15 years ago, that I began my healthy living transformation by walking every morning.  

For the first time, I was able to keep up with an exercise habit. This was because I enjoyed it and it helped me feel so much better physically and emotionally. It made such an impact that I remember the day I started and celebrate it each year as my “fit-iversary.”  

Walking has changed my life. It takes consistency to make a transformation that lasts, and walking helped me get there when nothing else worked. Walking became a gateway to other healthy habits, such as taking care of myself with better nutrition.  

That’s why I’m so passionate about helping others discover the joys of walking, the benefits of exercise and healthier habits, and the power of small beginnings. 

Walking in nature can boost mental health

A walk can help you feel better emotionally and physically. While this is true for any mode of exercise, studies have shown specifically that spending time in nature can reduce stress and anxiety.  

The Japanese coined a term in the 1980s, shinrin-yoku: "forest bathing" or “taking in the forest atmosphere.” The concept acknowledges and encourages the connection people have with natural environments and how good it is for us. 

A 2019 study of nearly 20,000 participants found that spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature was associated with a significant boost in good health and well-being. And it doesn’t have to be done all at once – that breaks down to just 17 minutes a day. 

Any amount of walking you can do, no matter how small, will benefit you and is better than nothing. 

Health benefits of fall walking

The Arthritis Foundation website points out that walking does wonderful things for our overall well-being. Walking can help improve sleep and immune function; and it helps prevent or improve type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. It makes your bones and muscles stronger and can help relieve joint pain. It’s great for our brain’s health too – improving memory and thinking, and preventing or improving depression. Walking can also contribute to maintaining a healthy weight. Becoming more fit increases your energy and stamina. 

Walking is one of the simplest exercises there is – and it’s free. With so much to offer, there’s a lot to love about walking.  

Fall is the perfect time to explore North Carolina’s beautiful parks and trails

With a wealth of natural resources and parks, we’ve hit the lottery in North Carolina. Our state is home to 41 state parks, 10 national park sites, four national forests, and an endless array of county and city parks, trails, and recreation areas across the state.  

NC State Parks and VisitNC are excellent resources to discover places to walk and explore. 

Other fun and creative ways to walk outdoors in the fall

In addition to hitting a trail, there are many ways to be active outdoors in the fall that don’t feel like a traditional workout.  

Have fun while racking up your step count when you: 

  • Find your way through a corn maze. 
  • Go picking at an apple orchard or pumpkin patch. 
  • Explore a historic downtown on a ghost walking tour. 
  • Walk your dog. 
  • Browse a craft or antiques festival. 
  • Stroll a farmer’s market for fresh local produce. 
  • Play a game of touch football or soccer outdoors with friends. 
  • Take kids on a nature walk. 
  • Try America’s fastest growing sport, pickleball. Many towns have free outdoor courts. 
  • Visit a fall festival or the state fair
  • Walk a 5K or 1-mile fun run event. 

Take in North Carolina’s dazzling fall color

Looking to catch the brightest fall foliage on your trek? Here’s when ABC11 expects leaf colors to peak across the state in 2023

  • Mountains: mid-to-late October 
  • Piedmont: early November 
  • Eastern and coastal areas: mid-to-late November 

4 tips for starting a fall walking program

Sure, you can just go when the mood hits. But if, like me, you want the maximum benefits of walking for regular exercise, here are some tips to start. 

  1. Find a good place to walk. Scout out safe routes ahead of time. There are many options: you could walk around your neighborhood, use the track or athletic field at a school, go on trails, or visit a park. Consider varying your locations to prevent boredom. 
  2. Wear a good pair of athletic shoes. Only wear shoes that are comfortable and supportive. Trail shoes are recommended for hiking. 
  3. Create a walking schedule. Determine what days and times you will walk, and schedule them in your calendar. 
  4. Have a backup for rainy days. Don’t let bad weather keep you from exercising – you can get in your steps indoors. Other indoor options include taking an exercise class, using a treadmill at the gym, or walking at the mall.  


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1-mile cardio walking indoor workout

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This program is presented for informational purposes only. Not all exercise programs are suitable for everyone. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Use of this program is at your own risk. If you are experiencing discomfort or pain, do not exercise; consult your physician. The creators are not responsible or liable for any injury sustained as a result of using any fitness program presented.

Music licensed by Soundstripe

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Michelle rogers certified personal trainer & group fitness instructor.

Hi. I'm Michelle Rogers. Thanks for joining me today for a quick cardio workout. Did you know that if you take 2,000 steps that's about like walking one mile? Well today in about 15 minutes we're going to get the equivalent of a 1-mile power walk and we're going to do it indoors.

Remember to go your own pace take breaks if you needed and make sure to bookmark this video so you can exercise with me whenever you want. Let's get started. 

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  • Go at your own pace 
  • Take breaks if needed 
  • Bookmark this video

Let's start with a march. It's a little march. This is our basic cardio walk step. Now step side to side. This is called a step touch. Add shoulder rolls. 

Back. And little marches. Let's add arms to this cross and open wide. Now elbows out. Circles. 

Back heel digs. It's heel heel in the lob the hotel down the street with arm side to side up to shoulder.

Level and little marches step touch. Hamstring curl. Bend each leg. Last one in.

March. Inhale. Circle up and exhale. Let's keep marching. 

This is our basic cardio walk step and it's little marches it's not big ones like that just step to the beat pump in arms. 

Let's add a heel dig to this we're going to cross the body heel heel. Let's add arms to this. Bend and straighten pushing to the back, working the triceps. And march.

Circle one arm back and the other heel digs in front cross the body.

Let's add arms to that push. Back tap each side. Tap clap heel deck diagonal.

With arms push back and … march arm circle back. 

Tap each side. Step and clap 

Make it two steps. One and two. One and two. Keep going. 

And now march. Single step touch. 

Single step touch. Make it two steps each side.  

And one two and one two. 

Okay let's continue with the march we're going to change our beat up to kind of a Latin rhythm.  

Now. So kind of get your hips into it. We’re going to do a mambo. Put front and back. It's front and back it's the same foot going front and back.  Now kind of come up off the other foot a little bit. Let's do that on the right leg. And front and back. 

Keep going. You could always just do marches if you’d rather tap to the front. Cross the body push the hip forward a little bit. You're doing so great. M front and back if you like. 

Let's add some arms to this. Up and down. And right leg. Mambo up and down. Tap to the front. Mamba with the left leg front and back.

Now mambo right leg front and back. Tap to the front push your hip forward a mambo left leg. Arms are optional. And right leg. One more. 

Let's march. Bring the energy. You're doing something so great for your body, mind and spirit. 

Make sure you bookmark this video so you can exercise with me any day that you can. 

Walk forward. One 2 3 clap. Back 2 three. Clap again.

Take it to a diagonal. One two three.  Flap back two three. Now the other side. And march in place. Pump in the arms and walk forward. One two three. And back two three. Again.

Diagonal other side. And march in place. Go your own pl pace and take breaks whenever you need to. You can always slow it down. You can always step up the intensity. Do what works for you. 

Walk forward. One two 3. And back two three. One more. And take it to the side. And the other side. 

One more march. And place. Let's do all that one more time. 

Walk forward and back again. And diagonal. Other side. And march in place. 

Let's begin with a tap to each side. Tap and clap. 

It's time to cool down. So we're going to slow it down a little bit for this final song. Two each side. One and two. One and two. Keep going. 

Now tap to the back. And little marches. Make sure you bookmark this video so you can exercise with me  every day that you can. You’re going to be so glad that you did.

Step touch. Be sure to check out the classes that i  teach online. Feel free to message me. I’d be happy to give you information about that. 

Step touch forward. 4 3 2 1 and back 4 three 2. Again and back tap each side. Two each side. And one two. Other side. Little marches. 

You did such a fantastic job today. You should be so proud of yourself. I'm really proud of you. Let's keep up the great work. 

Inhale and exhale again. Deep breath in and exhale. Slowing it down. And inhale. And exhale. Deep breath in. And exhale. 

I'll see you next time.

[Screen text]

Great job!

Time to walk

Now is the time to experience all that autumn has to offer and to rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit.

Take in the scenic views and fresh air while getting some exercise – a perfect way to spend a fall day! 

authors photo
Michelle Rogers
Michelle Rogers

Certified Personal Trainer

Michelle Rogers is a certified personal trainer who specializes in healthy living for adults over 40. She leads classes and workshops online at Reachable Fitness, her virtual exercise studio. Find out more at and connect on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @MRhealthyliving.

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Step up your wellness with a walk

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