Top 10 Ways to Enjoy an Autumn Walk

Autumn is prime time for enjoying walks. The days are cooler, the colors are intense, and you can enjoy the bounty of harvest season. You can get prepared with fall walking gear that is right for the changeable weather.

1
Play With the Leaves

Walking in Autumn Leaves
Walking in Autumn Leaves. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Nothing is more satisfying than stepping on a really crunchy leaf, except maybe kicking up piles of leaves as you try to stroll down the sidewalk. Compete with your walking buddy to see who can kick them the highest. I feel sorry for you if you live in a climate that doesn't produce intense fall foliage. You might want to plan a walking vacation to New England. Reds, oranges, yellows, browns -- make a game of coming up with a new crayon name for each hue. Finish line fuchsia. Old shoe ombre. Take oodles of photos of autumn trees and leaves. Crafty folks will plan a walk just to collect different leaves, pine cones and nuts to make autumn decorations.

2
Walk the Kids to School

School Crossing Sign - 2x3
School Crossing Sign. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Start your kids (or your neighbors' kids) off right by getting them into the habit of walking to school. This can be a step towards preventing childhood obesity, and you'll start and end the day right with a good walk. Check to see if your school has a walking school bus program you can participate in. You'll be helping grow the next generation of walkers. You'll also keep up on the latest slang, clothing trends, and boy bands.

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3
Steal Some Apples. No, Stroll the Farmers Markets!

No U-Pick - It's Stealing 2x3
No U-Pick - It's Stealing. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Let's say there's a certain apple tree on your walking route, and obviously nobody is harvesting the apples. That would make for a quick walking snack, right? Well, you don't want your walking to land you in prison, so no stealing! Instead, fall is a perfect time for planning a walk around visiting a farmer's market or a farm stand to stock up on apples, pears, potatoes, pumpkins, squash cider and more harvest produce.

4
Walk Oktoberfest

Munich Oktoberfest Bierhall
Munich Oktoberfest Bierhall. Wendy Bumgardner ©

You may not be able to walk to Munich Oktoberfest, but there are often walks and fun runs scheduled around local Oktoberfest celebrations. Earn your sausage, schnitzel and beer with a good walk beforehand. Go for the gemütlichkeit.

5
Corn Mazes and Punkin Chunkin

Corn Maze
Corn Maze. Elise Sinagra/Creative RF/Getty Images

Grab an excuse to get out to the countryside and have fun strolling through a corn maze and watching a pumpkin chunking. Look for a farm to visit that has organized walks or a fun run/walk event. Bring the family along for real harvest fun.

6
Walk Yourself to Work

Walk to Work or Take a Walking Break
Take a Walking Break. Paul Bradbury/OJO Images/Getty

It's back to the old grind for those of us lucky enough to have a job. That can mean spending too much time sitting, which increases your health risks. If you can turn at least part of your commute into a walk, you can sneak in healthy steps each day. If it just isn't possible to walk to work, then find time to walk during the work day.

7
Race for the Cure (or Other Charities)

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Walkers
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Walkers. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Autumn is a big charity walk season. You can join in Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure runs/walks in many cities. If pink isn't your thing, there are many other worthy charities who would love to have your feet at their walk. Pick a cause and get moving to prepare for a charity walk.

8
Walk a Half Marathon or Marathon

Water's Edge Half Marathon Starting Line
Water's Edge Half Marathon Starting Line. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Let's assume you've been training all summer if you plan to walk a marathon, or at least through August if you're tackling a half marathon. These aren't distances to do without full preparation. If you put in the mileage in training, you will have a sweet victory crossing the finish line and donning your finisher's medal.
How to Train for a Marathon or Half Marathon Walk
Because the fall weather is so changeable, be prepared on race day:

9
Join the Walking Dead

Zombies Lurch Forward
Zombies Lurch Forward. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Whether you join in as a zombie or a survivor, a Zombie Walk is good ghoulish fun. You can find these throughout autumn. They aren't much of a workout if you just shuffle slowly and moan, "Brains...brains..." You'll have to shuffle far enough to burn off the Halloween candy. If you prefer good old trick-or-treating, then consider these walking-themed Halloween costumes.

10
Turkey Trotting Time

Tom Turkey Strutting
Tom Turkey Strutting. Wendy Bumgardner ©

Thanksgiving is a dangerous holiday centered around eating and sitting while while watching football. If that isn't a recipe for weight gain, nothing is. You need to brave the weather and put in some exercise mileage to burn some of those calories. Look for a local Turkey Trot fun run/walk in your area. That can also be a way to entertain your relatives, or get out of the house for a couple of hours to avoid them.

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