Put on your walking shoes

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About once a month, a group of us get together and map out a 10-mile walk.

Since the average person will burn between 80 to 140 calories per mile (or roughly 1,000 calories in 10 miles), we reward ourselves afterwards with a leisurely lunch paired with wine. This month, we decided to explore Sea Pines. Our course was canopied by oak trees swathed with Spanish moss, lined with iconic and historic Hilton Head hot spots and included a beautiful beach section. Here’s how you, too, can do it:

WALKING SHOES2The Route

Park your car on the grass section along the Calibogue Cay Road causeway.

Take the wooded path to the Sea Loft villas (also known as the Sea Pines tree houses to many locals).

Stay on the path, bearing left once you come to the paved road.

From Dear Island Road, turn right onto Lighthouse Road toward Harbour Town.

Stroll around the harbor and get back onto Lighthouse Road.

Turn right onto Plantation Drive and continue toward the Stoney Baynard Ruins.

Turn left onto Baynard Park Road.

Once the road ends, turn right and then immediately left onto Old Military Road, and then right onto the bike path.

Continue on the bike path all the way to Tower Beach.

Use the beach access (and the public restrooms, if needed) and continue to Sea Pines Beach Club. (And while you’re walking through the outdoor seating area of the club, go ahead and reserve your table for lunch.)

Leaving the club, turn right onto North Sea Pines Drive.

Turn left onto Lawton Drive.

At Hilton Head Preparatory School, turn right as if you are going to the school and then immediately left and walk through the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, crossing the small foot bridge and ending up near Heritage Farm and Lawton Stables.

Turn right onto Greenwood Drive and then left onto Plantation Drive.

Turn right onto Calibogue Cay Road and head back to your car.

The entire walk took us 2 hours and 30 minutes, and we talked as we walked, covering every topic known to mankind, which — in addition to getting a low-impact workout, soaking up some bone density-building vitamin D, and communing with nature — was probably the healthiest part about our trek. Did you know when people, especially women, converse and discuss their lives and views, they produce oxytocin? Oxytocin, which is one of the “happy hormones,” reduces cardiovascular stress and improves the immune system.

Feeling post-workout radiant and continuing our oxytocin-a-thon, we drove back to the Sea Pines Beach Club and basked in the sun as we sipped on wine, shared appetizers and entrees, and recapped the highlights from the walk. Hippocrates once said, “Walking is a man’s best medicine,” and all of us agreed we felt great—and rightfully so. Researchers report that walking lowers your risk of health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, as well as strengthens your bones and muscles, helps you burn more calories and lifts your mood.

Becca Edwards is a wellness professional, freelance writer and owner of b.e.WELL+b.e.CREATIVE (bewellbecreative.com).