The Great Saunter

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At the very beginning of the walk. (photo by Carrie Levinson)

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, so what better way to kick it off than with a nice long walk?

I’ve always liked walking.  I enjoy checking out the scenery while I’m going somewhere, reveling in the greenery of the many parks around New York, and going on historical tours of the various neighborhoods in the city.   I also like seeing how much I can push myself, so when I learned about the Great Saunter, a 32-mile walk along the perimeter of Manhattan planned by the Shorewalkers organization, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to test my endurance.

The Great Saunter begins and ends at Fraunces Tavern, a historic building right by the South Street Seaport.  Its aim is to showcase the sometimes-forgotten shoreline along Manhattan Island.  The first half goes up the West Side, where the halfway point (and a well-deserved break for lunch) is at Inwood Park.  Then, the remaining walkers (many drop out at this point) begin the descent all the way down the East Side.  My group was determined to see us to the finish, and indeed, after 14 ½ hours, way after the sun had gone down, we all made it.

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So close to the end!  The Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. (photo by Carrie Levinson)

Here are some tips for long-distance hikes.  My three main tips, for anyone who might want to try next year’s Saunter: go with a group (12-14 hours is a long time to walk alone!), stretch often, and drink lots and lots of water!

The Touro College Libraries also offer books and e-books related to physical fitness and getting in shape.  Here are a few selections:

Physical fitness: Training, effects, and maintaining, edited by Mark A. Powell

Physical fitness and wellness, by Jerrold S. Greenberg, George B. Dintiman, Barbee Myers Oakes (call number: QT 255 G744p 1998; available at the Midwood library)

Exercise on prescription: cardiovascular activity for health, by John Buckley, Jane Holmes, Gareth Mapp (call number QT 255 B9245e 2002; available at the Midtown library)

Yoga: Anytime, anywhere, by Elise Browning Miller and Carol Blackman (call number: WB 541 M53 2004; available at the Kew Gardens Hills library)

Contributed by: Carrie Levinson, Librarian, Lander College for Women

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