Walking is one of the simplest ways to get healthy exercise. It comes with other benefits as well like anxiety reduction and a heightened connection with nature. People often overlook walking as an activity, but it offers many health and well-being benefits that are too good to ignore if you want to improve your fitness and mood. Here’s how to make it a healthy habit.
Define your motivation
Keep the reason behind why you want to take up walking as a habit in the front of your mind to motivate you. Remember, sometimes it will rain or feel chilly outside, and the comfort of home may tempt you to stay indoors. Identify a reason, or reasons, to put on your walking shoes.
Do you want to improve your fitness? Lose weight? Take up walking meditation? Or perhaps you want to increase your heart health? It will be easier to find the motivation to walk once you recognize the benefits you’ll gain from your new healthy habit.
Trainers, shoes, or boots that offer support and don’t rub against your feet are essential. Keep a pair in your car so you can go for a walk if the urge hits when you’re out for a drive. Store different shoes at work, too, if you intend
to walk to work and need to change your footwear when you get there. Also, invest in a light waterproof jacket and buy a small backpack to carry snacks, water, and sunscreen.
Create a cue to walk
You might imagine you will remember to go for a walk every day, or whenever you mean to, but until it’s a habit, you could easily forget. Your habits accompany other regular behaviors that are cues to begin. You most likely brush your
teeth on autopilot because you are used to doing so right after showering, visiting the bathroom, or eating breakfast. The same goes for any new habit you want to develop. Make walking habitual by teaming it with something you usually do. Go for a walk after dinner in the evening, for instance, or walk to work.
Start at a suitable pace
Take a step-by-step approach to walking if you have been inactive for a while. Increase the distance you travel gradually. When you get used to more activity, pick up the pace and take brisk walks to optimize the benefits. Vary your environment, walking in the countryside, by the water, in parks, woodlands, towns, and nature reserves, and you won’t get bored.
Walk with friends
Sometimes, you may enjoy walking alone because it gives you peace and quiet when you’ve been in a busy environment. Other times, though, you might enjoy the company of walking buddies. Arrange weekly walks with friends or join a walking group. Having people with you will motivate you and can be fun.
Make walking an enjoyable, healthy habit. Know why you want to walk, prepare so there’s no reason to quit (like sore
feet), and vary your locations. Remember to also create a cue to remind you to go for walks and there will be little to hold you back. Grab your walking shoes, and head outside!