How to begin a walking exercise routine for yourself.
I have had my own struggles in trying to begin and maintain a regular exercise routine, and one of the only ways I have found success in beginning anything new is in making an active CHOICE to JUST DO IT!
This may sound over simplistic. But it really is the only way of developing any new exercise habit. Habits can be difficult to break and they can be even more difficult to begin.
One of the easiest most cost-effective and enjoyable exercises is walking. All you have to do is have a good pair of sneakers, dress in comfortable loose clothing, open your front door and GET OUT!
This again sounds easy, yet in talking to several of my female friends, I often hear many excuses, justifications, or reasons why they are unable to follow through in the simple act of beginning walking, and I know, as I too have had several of the same thoughts running through my head ; I’m too tired, I don’t have enough time, I have too much to do today, etc.
Not listening to our own thoughts is one of the challenges many of us have in developing regular exercise habits. Then starting and stopping some sort of exercise, is another challenge we all can relate to.
So, the best suggestion I can give, is the same statement I use for myself, JUST DO IT, regardless of how I feel, what is going on in my world, or how much I have on my ‘to do’ list for my day.
Here are 7 ways to help motivate you to begin walking as exercise:
1) Walking at home: It is FREE! It is EASY! It is FUN! It Builds Social Connections! (Who knows, perhaps you can find useful ways to help others you meet!)
You might be the motivation and inspiration another person needs when they see you regularly passing them by around your town! I do know one thing, you will certainly motivate yourself when you engage in this out the door exercise in doing so regularly.
Many malls can be indoor places to walk in inclement weather also, so don’t put it off due to poor weather, start today!
2) Set a reasonable goal: Give yourself something to shoot for as without a vision, you will not go very far. Perhaps a starting goal is getting out the door and walking one block, depending on how long it is.
Depending on how long its been since you have exercised, start with small attainable distances and gradually add-on one block, then another.
If you prefer trails, walk a certain distance and gradually build up to extending your l distance. Many trails are marked with how long they are. This can add to your enjoyment if you have another or others to group with in choosing different locations to walk and make a day of it by bringing snacks, or a picnic lunch for after words!
3) Hook up with another person/group: This can get you moving when your motivation is zip. This sets up an accountability to others and in doing so, they can help you during sluggish periods or when you lose your desire to walk.
Studies have proven, if you have a walking date with a friend, your dog, or a group, you are much more likely to show up! Believe me, once you begin doing this you will also begin to feel better in many ways and you will be PROUD of yourself in actually following through in accomplishing what you set out to do!
4) Step up you pace: Maybe what your walk needs is a little ramping up to keep you interested. The fun thing about walking is that you determine your pace, your distance, and the environment that you’re walking in, along with whom you choose to do it with, if anyone.
Ramping up your pace can mean: Walking faster at certain times, while incorporating slowing down, then speeding up again, so that the rate at which your walking is not at a hurried or rushed level in completing the distance you have targeted for yourself, and you are giving yourself mini rests when slowing your pace, to develop a steady balanced rate.
5) Do it because you can. There are people who can’t walk (those in wheelchairs, those with mobility issues, those with certain medical conditions, etc.). The fact that you have the ability to walk, where many are unable, can fill you with gratitude that brings you an Inner joy, resulting in motivating yourself to just continue on those days you “ just don’t feel like it”.
6) Buy a Fitbit of Pedometer: My wonderful husband bought me fit better last Christmas and unbeknownst to me this can be a great motivator as it tracks how many steps you take in your entire day, even when you’re busy about the house.
This also tracks your heart rate, your sleep, along with breaking down all the food that you eat and/or drink so it determines, calories burned intensity of your walk, etc.
These are also good gifts to ask for!
This turns walking into a game as you can also connect with friends who have fit bits and just the fact that they are walking can motivate you to walk when you see how many steps or the distances they are doing on a daily basis.
Didn’t get your steps in today? See how many you can take while doing household/yard chores. Then challenge yourself to do 500 or 1,000 more at another time in the day, perhaps a stroll in the early evening to wind down, reflecting on your day.
I walk early morning, first thing, then again in the early evening, usually with my hubby, and you will be surprised at the brief time this takes and it certainly beats sitting around!
7) Do it anyway. The hardest step is the first one. Once you step out the door or join with another or a group, you are more likely to keep going.
STOP listening to your internal excuses and STOP paying attention to those voices in your head, along with all the reasons or excuses! Just Refuse to go there!
CHOOSE to GET OUT your front door and DO IT!
Hope this helps!
Take some time to share with us what has helped you in starting a walking routine? What are some of the challenges you faced? What are some of the obstacles you had to overcome? What do you like best about walking?
Keep a look out for my next post in this series on walking to discover how walking helps us!
Take a look at my next article for all the health benefits from this simple exercise posted 6/21/18: 13 Benefits of regularly walking
To better health and wellbeing!