A lifestyle change that has come built-in to our time in France has been more walking. For one thing, we’ve been traveling and that always means sightseeing and museums and walking around cities. I track my steps on a daily basis, and a travel day usually ends up somewhere around 20,000 steps for me, which is roughly 8 miles.
But even in our daily life when we aren’t traveling somewhere, we are just walking more. We live in a small village where you walk everywhere instead of driving. We walk to the bakery, to restaurants, to the grocery store, to the ATM, to the recycling station. I absolutely LOVE the walkability of the village and that everything I need is just a few steps away. It is one of my top favorite things about living in France.
Kaysersberg, the village where we live, is also situated on the “Route de Vin” or Wine Route and is surrounded by acres and acres of vineyards. Around the corner from our apartment I can access miles and miles of vineyard trails (pictured above) which are great for long walks.
All of this has made me realize that walking is such an underrated form of exercise. You can do it anywhere. No special clothes are required–you can do it in street clothes or activewear or whatever you have on. You don’t need fancy equipment. It’s free. Depending on how much time you have, you can do it in short bursts or take a few hours for a longer excursion. You can listen to books and podcasts. If you can convince someone to walk with you, it’s great for talking time. It’s just really accessible.
Also–I feel great! My heart and my lungs love the exercise and fresh air. My legs feel strong. I always feel energized after a walk. It’s been good for my mental and emotional health.
There has been a downside. I’ve been walking so much that I have developed plantar fasciitis in my feet. It is really uncomfortable and I definitely need to get it addressed, which I will do when we get home in a few weeks. (Wear supportive shoes!)
Nonetheless, one of the souvenirs I am really hoping to bring home from my time in France is a commitment to walk as much at home as I have while I was here. And I hope to keep walking a lot until I’m an old, old woman who wears drapey clothes, big glasses, and orthopedic shoes and walks around delivering homemade bread and jam to my neighbors.