The Pleasure and Benefits of an Evening Stroll

Summer solstice has just passed us and with us the longest day of the year.  But July may be the best month for evening strolls, what with its warm weather and lovely golden twilight.

Evening strolls may feel like a by-gone pastime or a European tradition but they are a pleasurable way to extend the summer experience and get the most out of this lusted-after season.  How many hours do we spend in the cold of winter, wishing for this warm weather?  Let's get outside and take advantage of it!
passeggiata (päs-sād-ˈjä-tä): the Italian tradition of a gentle stroll in the evening (link)
Italians call it passeggiata, where as in Spain it's know as a paseo.  The French may not have a term for the activity but they do have a term for the person undertaking it: flâneur, defined as a “strolling urban observer”.  No matter what the term, it really is about the leisurely way this urban activity is undertaken and the spontaneous method in which it is done.

Our summer evenings may be the best time to enjoy the warm weather, as the harsh overhead sun has diminished to a more acceptable angled heat and the cooling evenings breezes can be found wafting in off of large bodies of water.  There are health benefits also to getting out after a meal.  Enjoying a stroll after dinner can help with digestion and improve blood sugar levels (New York Times, 2013)  and it can also boost your metabolism and help with sleep (Health Site, 2015).

Strolls with no specific destination can reveal new discoveries and boost enjoyment.  By relaxing and just going with the flow, this type of stroll can help you unwind from busy days and overly-scheduled calendars.

Let your path take you under some trees, through a park and if you can add in a walk by a fountain, stream or lake.  Don't forget about those beneficial negative ions!

And breathe in deeply when you are surrounded by green (or flowers!).  See how many of your five senses you can engage. (Why not stroll with one of those guilty pleasures - like a gelato or frozen ice treat!

And if you are from the capital city here, why not consider one of these five downtown places in Ottawa for your evening stroll!

What gets you off the couch at night and out for an evening stroll?

Do you have a favourite location or do you check out new spots each time?

How can you make an outdoor walk your new way to unwind after a long day?

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