How To Create A Daily Walking Habit
Walking is one of the healthiest activities on the planet. A short walk every day can strengthen your heart, boss your immune system, lower your blood sugar, ease joint pain, and of course burn some calories.
They can be fun, too.
Focus on yourself.
Don’t compare yourself to other’s; doing so leads to self-criticism, which will only drag you down. Just remember that everyone starts somewhere. If all you can do is get out the door and walk around the block at first, then do that. In fact, you’ll still reap many of the same health benefits whether you walk for 15 minutes or an hour.
Go at your own pace.
You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Start out slow and ease into it. Break up your walks into chunks if you need to. There’s no rush; walks are a relaxing form of exercise. If you need to start on a treadmill, do that first.
Create a regular schedule.
The first step to building a new habit is by starting, but the next step is to establish some consistency. Instead of walking at random times every day, block out one window of time that you’ll walk every day and stick to it.
Morning is one of the best times to go for a walk. Morning walks get the blood flowing and muscles working so you can be ready for the day ahead. You’ll get to breathe in that crisp morning air and you may even catch a beautiful sunrise.
After lunch is another great time to schedule your walks. Nothing like a post-lunch walk to burn calories and fight early-afternoon sleepiness.
Prepare for you walk the day before.
If you’re a morning walker, prepare the night before to make sure your walk happens. Set the coffee to brew, lay out your walking clothes, and grab your shoes so you’re ready to walk the moment you wake up.
Make it fun.
The best way to stick to your habit is to make it enjoyable. To do so, switch up your walking route once a week. If your walk normally takes you through town, try walking some trails instead for a change of scenery. Nature walks actually enhance the benefits of walking, too. Uneven terrain can help you get a better walking workout, while the lack of air pollution will be easier on your lungs.
Find a walking buddy.
Walking with friends makes for great fun. Time will fly and the walk will feel effortless when you’re able to have a conversation with a friend. Walking with someone else also helps keep you accountable, as you rely on each other to stay consistent in your walking habit.
Set challenging but achievable goals.
If your daily walk is getting too easy, that’s a good sign you’re improving, but don’t get comfortable; challenging yourself helps you stay consistent. The best way to challenge yourself is to set tough but achievable goals. For example, you could add time onto your daily walk each week. Another way to challenge yourself would be to set a daily step goal and increase it each week.
Giving yourself a big goal to work up to is another way to challenge yourself. Sign up for a long charity walk months in advance. Work backwards to plan out how much distance you need to add to your walk each week to be ready for the charity walk. When the time comes, you’ll get great exercise and you’ll be supporting a good cause!
Keep at it no matter what!
Maybe you woke up with a cold, or perhaps it’s storming all day outside, or maybe you just woke up with some achy legs from your previous walk. Don’t beat yourself up; stuff happens to everyone. Prepare for your next walk in advance to minimize future setbacks.