Feet · Hiking · Walking

What’s Better for Your Feet?

Walking on even surfaces or rough terrain? According to new research uneven, rough, terrain is better for your feet.

Lindsay Road, Worthington

Once upon a time, we walked on a diverse terrain – over pebbles and paths, rocks, forests, in high grass, on boulders, we might have had to climb over an obstacle or two. Diverse terrain also means different loads to the very mobile architecture of the foot with its 33 joints and more than a 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. This also meant varying loads on the ankle, knee and hip joints – thus tissues were stimulated at different rates, intensities and frequencies.

What’s the opposite of this? Shopping at the mall? Walking around the paved path around a lake in your community? Where does your shoe-protected, stiff, sensory deprived foot get to encounter the symphony of inputs that nature provides? No wonder most of my clients suffer on long walks through the supermarket – once a tissue is overloaded it doesn’t take much of repeating the same stimulus over and over again to aggravate it. Galina Denzel

In practice, walking on uneven surfaces has been difficult for me since I started MassWalk 2017, because most of the mountain chains across Massachusetts run along a North-South axis. Choosing to walk in a west to east direction you’ll only find hard asphalt roads, like Route 9 which spans the state.  To counter this I walk on the far shoulders of the road as much as possible. One for safety, and secondly to spare my feet from the hard pounding they would take on the concrete surfaces. Most rail trails across Massachusetts are typically made of some sort of mixed asphalt which can also be hard on your feet. Regardless, they are still wonderful to experience and they serve as a great introduction to hiking and other activities.

While the shoulder of most roadways are not the more beneficial rough terrain as described in the accompanying article, it’s still fairly diverse, and it gives my feet a lot of feedback from the unevenness.

So, What’s Your Walking Surface IQ?

To learn more about new walking science research check out this article entitled: What’s your walking surface IQ? by Galina Denzel, a Nutritious Movement certified restorative exercise specialist.

Massachusetts Rail-Trail Stats

  • 67 total rail-trails
  • 310 miles of rail-trails
  • 66 current projects
  • 323 miles of potential rail-trail



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Hiking · Map · Rail Trail

Along the Way, Midstate Trail, July 22-23

MidstateTrail-MapNarrowLooking ahead to this weekend’s MassWalk, as I’m now officially calling it, I’ve decided to slow down so I can actually experience hiking one of the most well-known trails in Central Massachusetts. Also, I’m excited to have my friend Michael Richardson, who’s visiting from Boise, join me on Sunday for a portion of the hike to Douglas State Forest.

The Midstate Trail is a scenic footpath which runs 92 miles (148 km) through Worcester County, Massachusetts, from the Rhode Island border to the New Hampshire border, approximately 45 miles (72 km) west of Boston, according to WikiPedia. The trail is considered highly accessible, scenic, and remarkably rural despite its proximity to urban Boston. The trail includes the summits of Mount Wachusett and Mount Watatic, as well as many interesting geologic, historic, and natural features.[1]

 I’m planning to hike two parts of the Midstate Trail this weekend beginning in Charlton to Cascade Brook (about 6.1 mi, 9.81 km), and then Cascade Brook to Douglas State Forest (17 mi, 27.35km).

Hiking · Walking

The Difference Between Hiking and Walking

Courtesy of Differencebetween.net
Shadow Walk
Hiking vs. Walking

One of the questions that I have asked myself on this journey, Am I hiking or walking across Massachusetts? Because of the distance and rolling hills that I cross I am definitely hiking. Although I am walking mainly, low traffic, asphalt roadways I am still hiking. Whenever there is a gravel or a dirt bed on the side of the road I will walk on that then the harden road surface.  In researching the question about the difference between hiking and walking, I discovered this well thought out article on the internet by Differencebetween.net

Are you a fitness fanatic? If so, perhaps you have already tried walking many times and a little hiking here and there as well. Hiking and walking are two different activities, and yet these activities can help you lose some unwanted pounds. Still, many are confused regarding the differences between hiking and walking because when you hike, you walk. In that case, is hiking also synonymous with walking? Let’s find out.

Hiking and walking differ from the path the person takes. Hiking obviously involves walking. However, when you hike, it means you are walking from a lower elevation to a higher elevation. On the other hand, when you walk, it means that you are only trekking a relatively smooth and flat path without too many hurdles. In other words, hiking entails a lot more effort than walking since the path in hiking trails is more difficult. When hiking, your body also expends more energy in order to move in rough and hilly paths. It is only called walking when the path you are taking is only rough not necessarily hilly.

To be more particular regarding the paths hikers and walkers take, hikers usually hike on natural trails while walkers walk on any kind of surfaces. Examples of hiking trails are forests, mountains, and reserved parks. Examples of walking trails are those paths made of concrete, asphalt, gravel, and sand. Forests, mountains, and reserved parks are often rough and hilly. Paths made of concrete and asphalt are usually flat and not rough.

When you are hiking, you also dress like what a hiker requires. Hikers dress in their comfortable hiking outfits, hiking boots, and even take with them a hiking stick. On the other hand, when you are walking for the sake of sweating a little, you usually dress in your jogging attire. And instead of sturdy boots, you put on your rubber shoes when you walk. Hikers also need several things to prepare like the contents of their backpack while walkers are already satisfied with a towel and a bottle of water.

Hiking also involves camping overnight. When you hike, camping is always the next thing to do. Since hiking is usually done in a forest on mountain trails, there is a need to take a rest and assemble your tent. A walk in the woods differs from a hike in the forest when your intention is just to see the nature around you without going on difficult trails.

Hiking and walking are fun and great activities for everyone. If you are a bit adventurous, then go take a hike with your friends. If you prefer an easier route, then go take a walk. Hiking and walking are also good for your body and health. These activities are a form of exercise which can better the circulation of your blood and the beating of your heart.

A hike becomes a walk and a walk becomes a hike depending on where you do it. Nevertheless, we might care less about the definition of these two seemingly similar terms. As long as we have our healthy dose of a walk or a hike, their definitions don’t matter.


  1. When you hike, it means you are walking from a lower elevation to a higher elevation. On the other hand, when you walk, it means that you are only trekking a relatively smooth and flat path, without too many hurdles.

  2. Hiking entails a lot more effort than walking since the path in hiking trails is more difficult.