Off the beaten path: Creative ways to get your steps in throughout Dayton

Enjoying nature, experiencing history, exploring the city — walking can be about more than logging steps.

The benefits of walking are plentiful, from increased energy and decreased stress levels to reduced joint pain and improved quality of sleep. And adding steps to your fitness routine can be a good time and good for you.

Summer is the ideal time to get creative with your walking routine by adding a garden tour or historical walk or maybe a DIY trek around Dayton complete with a refreshing beverage.

How many steps are optimal?

“Getting less than 5,000 steps a day is considered sedentary, ‘low active’ is between 5,000-7,500 steps a day,” said Karen Wonders, Wright State University department of kinesiology and health program director. “‘Somewhat active’ is between 7,500-10,000 steps a day, and ‘active’ is more than 10,000 steps a day.”

Ready to slip on your walking shoes? Here are some creative ways to get your steps in.

Explore Dayton

Explore the city at your own pace and on your own time with one of the Downtown Dayton Partnership’s themed self-guided tours. Experience the Outdoor Public Art Walk, treat yourself on the Espresso & Treat Tour or enjoy the Downtown Brewery & Distillery Tour.

Simply download the free Roamli app on your phone and create an account. Select the tour you want to try — DAYTONART, DAYTONCAFE or DAYTONBEER — and you’re on your way.

Combine the tours and enjoy colorful murals and statues and get an energy boost with an espresso or pastry. You can save your progress on the tours and pick up where you left off.

For more information, visit

Enjoy nature

The Osborn Historic Garden Club Garden Affair includes a Summer Garden Tour and Garden and Art Fair in Fairborn on Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Get your steps in while you tour the beautiful private gardens and even try your hand at the scavenger hunt. Round out the day by checking out the exhibitors and vendors at the Main St. Commons.

For information, visit the Osborn Historic Garden Club on Facebook.

This year’s Lebanon Garden Tour and Scavenger Hunt combines tours of the gardens of the Northern Historic District with an additional “Sites of Interest” walk. The gardeners will be on hand at the featured gardens to answer questions and offer tips. Maps and directions for the self-guided tour are available the days of the tour, June 22-23, at the Lebanon Train Station.

For information, visit the Lebanon Garden Tour and Scavenger Hunt on Facebook.

Hunt for history

The Hunting for History program is a way to explore historic Uptown Centerville at your own pace and on your own schedule. Three different tours highlight the many historic buildings in the community including the Asahel Wright and Walton House museums.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Make it a family affair with the Young at Heart Challenges at each of the tour stops. And treat yourself to a local delicacy as both Marion’s Piazza and Bill’s Donut Shop are on one of the tours.

For more information or to download the tour routes, visit

Benefits of walking

According to Karen Wonders, Wright State University department of kinesiology and health program director, here are some benefits of walking:

  • Mood booster — even 10 minutes of walking reduces stress and anxiety because of the endorphin release
  • Lowers blood pressure and reduces your risk of heart disease (30 minutes of walking a day can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by 19 percent)
  • Improves sleep and sleep quality
  • Increases energy levels — just 5-10 minutes of exercise is enough to combat fatigue and make you feel more energized
  • Helps maintain a healthy body weight
  • Helps regulate blood sugar (15-minute walks after breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Helps with joint pain (hips/knees/ankles) because movement lubricates the joints and strengthens the muscles around those joints
  • Boosts your immune function (43 percent fewer sick days in individuals who reach 150 min of exercise a week)

About the Author