You might stop making excuses if you thought about what you were missing. Walking for at least 21 minutes a day can cut your risk of heart disease by 30%, according to Harvard Medical School. For every 30 minutes you walk at a moderate pace, you burn about 200 calories while enhancing your circulation and brightening your mood. Plus, it’s free and requires no equipment.
Break up the monotony that stands between you and your walking program. Let these challenges and distractions help you walk your way to the fitness you desire.
Challenges to Make Walking More Fun
1. Set a goal. You’ll look forward to your walk when you focus on your purpose. Maybe you want to lose weight or condition your heart. Maybe you’re inspired by studies that show how walking slows down mental decline associated with ageing.
2. Cross train. Walking is even more beneficial when you add other forms of exercise. Walk to the gym so you can finish up your workout with some weight lifting and stretching.
3. Work out in intervals. Vary your pace to make walking more interesting and productive. You could alternate between 3 minutes of brisk activity and 3 minutes at a gentler pace.
4. Tone your arms. Give your upper body some attention while you’re toning your legs. While hand weights can be tough on your joints, there are other ways to sculpt your arms and shoulders. Bring along an exercise band for arm circles and shoulder presses.
5. Head uphill. If you think walking is too easy, take it up a notch. Set your treadmill to a steep incline. Climb stairs or hike up a mountain.
Distractions to Make Walking More Fun
1. Find a buddy. Spend more time with your spouse or kids by taking a walk together. Invite a neighbor or coworker to join you for a morning or lunchtime outing.
2. Join a group. If walking with one partner is more fun, how about a whole group? Check Meetup listings or post a notice at your favorite coffee shop.
3. Listen to music. Play your favorite tunes or listen to an audio book. Studies prove that music reduces perceived effort so you’re likely to walk faster and longer without even noticing the extra effort.
4. Vary your route. A change of scenery is bound to do you good. Take your daily constitutional to a shopping district where you can admire the store windows. Saunter through a public garden or the sculpture court of an art museum.
5. Bring your dog. Your dog is an expert on how to appreciate a good walk. Share his enthusiasm for checking out new sights and sounds.
Other Tips to Overcome Boredom
1. Practice meditation. While you won’t reach top speeds, walking meditation can be a pleasant way to experience the joys of movement. Pace around your back yard or living room while you chant mantras or focus on your breath.
2. Change your schedule. Any activity may be more appealing if you fit it into the time when you’re at peak performance. See if walking after dinner feels different from an early morning outing.
3. Give back. Support a good cause by going on a charity walk to support a group that resonates with you. You’ll be rewarded with a cool t-shirt and a sense of satisfaction.
Walking can be fun. Find creative ways to make your walks more challenging and engaging so you’ll stay motivated and enjoy your workout.