If you’re the proud owner of a fresh and sparkly activity tracker, your new unit of currency will most likely be ‘steps’ and distance walked – discover Edinburgh in steps and easily hit your daily goal.
You wake up each morning, optimistic that today will be an activity-packed day when you easily smash your goal of 10,000 steps (the norm for most newbies).
But is it easy to hit 10,000 steps a day? If you have a desk job, not at all, which is why millions of us end up pacing the living room at 8pm to try and boost those steps (trust me – I’ve been there – it’s not fun).
As well as working towards an electronic badge, and a star on your tracker, walking is also an effective form of aerobic exercise that helps you get fit – it gets your lungs working, burns calories and keeps you healthy.
It can also help you lose up to three pounds a month on average – that’s 36 pounds a year!
But instead of simply wandering round the kitchen and up and down your stairs to get that little buzz at the end of the day (and a healthier, fitter, more toned body), it’s much more fun to get outside.
Here are some of our favourite ways to get your step-counter ticking over and your heart racing while in Edinburgh – entertaining, educational, stimulating, even inspiring.
The Royal Mile – 2,000 steps
There is plenty to stimulate the senses on the historic Royal Mile, which runs through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace.
Enjoy some of the best eating and drinking spots right here (you’re burning calories so can afford to indulge in a little bit of fuel) before taking a look around the new Scottish Parliament Building.
The Scott Monument – 600 steps
It might not sound like many steps, but this impressive monument, dedicated to the memory of Sir Walter Scott, is made up of a steep narrow flight of 287 stairs, which your trusty Fitbit recognises as around 20 flights, so you get two fitness benefits for the price of one: steps taken and floors climbed.
It will also get your heart pumping as you climb your way to the top viewing platform, where you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views across the city of Edinburgh.
Edinburgh Castle – 5,000 steps
Sitting atop one of the city’s extinct volcanoes (there are two), Edinburgh Castle is one of our favourite ways to reach 10,000 steps.
Take a morning or afternoon to explore the dungeons, learn about one of Scotland’s most famous sons, Robert Burns, and see the Scottish crown jewels. Be sure to plan your visit so you can experience the shooting of the One o’clock Gun, a tradition dating back to 1861. The loud noise and excitement may even take you into the cardio zone on your tracker….
Arthur’s Seat – 6,000 steps
Holyrood Park, and its highest point Arthur’s Seat, are a short walk from the Royal Mile and are well worth a visit.
The 640 acre park features the other extinct volcano in the city and at 250m high, it offers spectacular views to enjoy while you catch your breath after your high impact climb.
The Meadows 2,000 steps
The large public park in the shadow of Edinburgh University’s central campus offers acres of green space and tree-lined paths, perfect for less strenuous exercise (and a little boost in steps).
Scottish National Gallery – 3,000 steps
Located on the Mound in central Edinburgh, this neoclassical building is one of the city’s three galleries, and is home to the work of Monet, Constable, Turner and Cezanne.
Entry is free and will give your mind a work-out as well as your body.
Water of Leith – as many as you can handle!
If tourist attractions are on your wish list, Edinburgh offers them in spades, but if you’re simply looking for a walk which offers magnificent views that will hold your attention, check out the Water of Leith, a 12 ¾ mile walk through the heart of Edinburgh.
The route follows the path of the city’s river which is home to a wide diversity of plants and animals and ends at the Firth of Forth at Leith’s docks.
There’s so much to see that you’ll soon forget to check your fitness tracker to see how many steps you’ve taken and how far you’ve walked!
So grab a bottle of water, get your family excited about all that Edinburgh has to offer, and hit the cobbled streets to see what you could discover.