1. The American Heart Association recommends 30 to 60 minutes of walking three or four times a week. 2. A 150-pound person walking at a moderate pace (3 mph) burns approximately 320 calories in 60 minutes; 440 at a brisk pace (4.5 mph). 3. Hiking with a 10- to 15-pound pack increases calories burned by 10 to 15 percent. 4. When exercising, both hikers and walkers should be sure to drink water before (at least 14 ounces, 2 hours ahead of time), during (at least 6 ounces, every 15 to 20 minutes) and after (at least 16 ounces), according to the American Dietetic Association. 5. A family that walks two miles a day for a year instead of driving will prevent 730 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
Rails to Trails
"We're connecting communities with these incredible ribbons of green," says Keith Laughlin, president of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. This nonprofit, based in Washington, D.C., has helped convert 12,000 miles of former rail lines into trails for hiking, biking and in-line skating. One amazing success: the Route of the Hiawatha, in northern Idaho, on which you hike across 100-foot ravines (www.railstotrails.org).
Austin-Lehman Adventures leads groups through the U.S., Canada and Costa Rica. A week in the Rockies starts with an alpine hike and ends in an aromatherapy steam room (800-575-1540 or www.austinlehman.com).
Classic Journeys, a Europe specialist, offers less physically rigorous trips: On average, travelers walk three hours a day. The new tour through Italy's Puglia region includes countryside rambles, stops at vineyards and cooking with a family of shepherds (858-200-3887 or www.classicjourneys.com).
Geographic Expeditions organizes intensive hikes, on five continents. The company's 22-day-long Trans-Himalayan Trek explores the old kingdom of Zanskar in India, with nights spent at a re-created Silk Road traders' camp, complete with yurts for sleepingand private baths nearby (800-777-8183 or www.geoex.com).
Mountain Travel Sobek, a 34-year-old pioneer in the field, continues to be an innovator. This year alone the company's introduced 32 new itineraries, including a journey through Bolivia's Cordillera Real, with its massive glaciers and 20,000-foot peaks (888-MTSOBEK or www.mtsobek.com).
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Add supernutritious dried raspberries and blueberries to your homemade trail mix. Meduri Farms' are especially delicious (800-393-2239).