Walking is great exercise. Not only does it burn calories, it also works your heart, lungs and major lower body muscles and is about as natural as exercise gets. And better still, it can be done virtually anywhere and anytime.
However, as awesome as walking undeniably is, some people find that walking doesn’t deliver enough in the enjoyment department and, as everyone knows, it’s hard to stick to an exercise program that isn’t enjoyable – even if it delivers results.
So, how can you boost the enjoyment factor? Good question! Here are some great enjoyment-boosting walking tips you can use to add an extra element of gratification to your walking workouts.
1. Keep track of your progress
One of the best ways to boost walking enjoyment is to use a pedometer or pedometer/step counter app like our very own Stepz (http://stepzapp.com/).
Not only can you keep track of how many steps you have taken, important as most experts agree you need to be hitting around 10,000 per day), you can also measure how far you have walked and how many calories you have burnt.
Tracking all this information gives you a very accessible way to measure your progress and that can be both motivating and rewarding; especially when you compare your performance over several months or even years.
2. Make it challenging
There is nothing wrong with simply “going for a walk” and walking doesn’t have to be competitive but if you have a sports background or simply enjoy pushing yourself a bit, walking can provide the necessary means.
Try to see how far you can walk in an hour or how fast you can walk three miles. Work hard to beat your previous best. You could also seek out a long, steep hill and walk up it as fast as you can for a tough and challenging workout. Strap on a back pack to raise the intensity even more.
Walking is often noted for being a low to moderate intensity workout but it doesn’t have to be. Walking briskly while carrying weight or going uphill can make walking every bit as challenging as running but without the high impact.
Walking is the perfect vehicle for exploring not only your neighborhood but places you might not yet have visited. The scenery passes by at such a slow pace that you have plenty of time to admire the view without stopping. Walking around your neighborhood instead of driving will undoubtedly reveal a host of things that you simply won’t have seen from the confines of your car.
4. Get off road
Getting off road is a great way to escape the pressures of modern living and reconnect with Mother Nature. Heading out into the countryside means you’ll be happily puffing on fresh air and might see all manner of plants and animals that city-dwellers never get the chance to observe.
Of course, if you do head out into the great outdoors, make sure you are adequately equipped for what you are about to face. If rain is likely, take a waterproof coat and make sure you have water and food to keep you hydrated and fed.
5. Recruit a walking buddy
Walking and talking go very well together. In fact, there is a good case for arguing that walking is the most sociable workout around. The low to moderate level of intensity means you’ll only be slightly out of breath and more than able to hold a conversation. Talking while walking can really make the time go faster and as talking to yourself is generally frowned upon, recruiting a walking buddy makes a lot of sense.
Alternatively, you could use your walks as an opportunity to catch up on phone calls. Of course, the best walking buddy is probably the kind with four legs and while conversation may be a little one sided, walking with a dog is one of life’s great pleasures.
6. Pump up the volume
If you prefer to walk alone, you can still keep yourself entertained by listening to music, podcasts, audio books or the radio. Many phones contain media players and MP3 players are so small and neat that it’s easy to forget you are even carrying one.
While audio can be very entertaining, it can also be distracting so make sure you turn the volume down if you are walking near road or approaching an area of high traffic density.
7. Join a walking club
Walking as part of a group provides a great opportunity to make your workouts really sociable. An ideal opportunity to meet new people who share your enjoyment of walking, many clubs regularly expand their horizons by purposely seeking out new places to ramble. Use your internet search engine to find your nearest walking club, or scour Facebook or your local newspapers. If you can’t find a group near you, why not start one yourself?
While you could make like a hamster and do all your walking on a treadmill, you will probably soon get bored of staring at the same spot on the wall mile after mile. Instead, get up and out and look for ways to make your walks more enjoyable. Walking is no fitness quick fix but is, instead, something you should plan on doing for as long as humanly possible – right up to the day you are ready to quit breathing for good! The best form of exercise is the one you enjoy so seek out ways to ensure that walking never becomes a chore.