How to Make Walking a Daily Habit
Walking daily for 30 minutes can reduce the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and stroke, and can enhance our overall health condition and sense of well-being. According to the American Journal of Health Promotion, the more steps we walk, the better and healthier we will feel. However, a huge obstacle we can encounter in the beginning is a lack of motivation and encouragement, as we all know when trying to establish any healthy habit. The first thing we have to bear in mind is to set a reasonable goal. There is no point pushing our body too hard in order to walk more steps because we will often feel exhausted afterward and will give up quickly. The idea is to persist, gradually increasing the time and intensity, and turn walking into a daily habit. The article “Exercise Ideas for Outdoor Walking Groups” gives us some interesting ideas on how to make walking a daily habit.
How to Make Walking a Daily Habit
Start a Walking Group
The Mayo Clinic recommends starting a walking group. Consider inviting neighbors, fellow workers and other associates. You may find many already are walking for exercise. Pick a convenient time to walk as a group and a common meeting place to begin and end. Try to walk in the morning, before heat builds. Some walking groups go early in the day and finish at a breakfast spot. Always carry water, even on half-hour walks, and stretch before setting out. Take turns with group members leading stretches.
Exercise to Explore
Use your walking group to explore your neighborhood or your community while you exercise. Look for interesting or historic districts to walk through. Start from a common meeting point and walk in a different direction each day. Try routes that include hills for extra challenge, and let a different member suggest a route each day. Go by time, not distance. Walk 15 or 30 minutes, and then circle around and walk back to your starting point.
Park Walks and Parcourse
Walk through a park with an interesting trail or path. Try to find one with a Parcourse area, a series of exercise stops with directions for stretching, bending or other calisthenics. Some paths through wooded or scenic areas provide a lot of diverse exercise because they may go up and down hills or around obstacles. If a park isn’t within convenient walking distance for all group members, arrange to drive, preferably together, to a starting point.
Check out organized walking programs, such as Meetup, a walker’s association with more than 1,300 chapters around the country, or Volkssport, a network of 350 walking clubs. These may provide designated routes of varying distances and also may sponsor regular walking events. Several running organizations also sponsor walks in conjunction with their training or racing activities.
The American Heart Association, various cancer societies and other organizations sponsor walking events, often as fundraisers. The Phoenix Heart Walk, for instance, is held in spring. These walks for a cause give your group a chance to meet other walkers and see new areas. Use your daily group walks to train for these events.
If these ideas do not help, maybe additional tips can encourage us to stick to walking habit and do it continuously. For example, we can walk everywhere – on our way to a day job, by using stairways whenever we can, doing housework, finding a new route to our local shop, walking a dog, etc. We can also motivate ourselves by using pedometers, which counts the number of steps while walking and measures their intensity. It can motivate us to check up our results regularly, which in turn encourages us further. Bad weather can also prevent us from walking. A good tip is to use a home treadmill or looking for a nearby gym. In any other cases, finding someone, who is also interested in improving his/her condition is the best way to keep on track. Whatever we choose to motivate us, is worth trying, because benefits in a long run are amazing.