Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Most exercise programs can get a bit boring after awhile. Walking is so easy; it can get boring faster than some other types of exercise, such as a game of tennis or a few hours of rock climbing or sailing. But, those activities are often difficult to work into our daily or weekly lives. So, a base fitness routine like walking is a great solution. If you can learn to beat the boredom and stay motivated to walk, you will have a fitness activity for life. Try these tips for keeping your walking interesting and for overcoming walking boredom:
1—Walk and Talk. Walking is a great time to catch up with friends and family. Call someone whose company you enjoy and see if they would like to join you for a walk and a chat. Doing this once a week or even every two weeks can be a big morale booster for you. It is an easy way to get in an extra walk as well as some quality relationship time.
2—Change your Scenery. Sometimes just walking in the opposite direction of your normal routine is a big help. But see if there are walking trails or parks or even school tracks nearby that you can walk to or on. Go to the mall and walk there (great for inclement weather walking). Drive to a nearby neighborhood. Visit upscale neighborhoods with sidewalks and take a walking tour of the nice homes and landscaping there.
3—Walk and Learn. Download audiobooks to your mp3 player and listen to them while you are walking. The time really flies by if you are listening to a great book, and you can find yourself walking more to find out what happened. You can learn a foreign language, keep up with your career reading, enjoy the latest comedy or romance or horror stories or even listen to free podcasts to keep up with almost any topic you can think of. (Try walking with one earphone in to hear the audio and keep the other ear free to hear surrounding noises.)
4—Sign up for Charity Walks or Races. It is quite motivating to train for a walking event. If you know you must walk a certain distance in the near future, you know you need to stick to your training plan so that you can complete the event. Finishing an event is a great motivating goal, but there are great t-shirts and goodie bags, too! And, if the walking event is for a charity, your steps can make a difference.
5—Set Goals. It really helps to have a definite walking goal. No matter what that goal is, if you actually write it down, it helps. Almost meeting your goal for the week can motivate you to take that extra walk even if you are not all gung-ho about it just so you can actually get to the goal. And, it is hugely motivating to see that you have met your goal. Start with walking 10 minutes a day five days a week. That is totally doable and yet so inspiring when you achieve it that you’ll soon be setting more ambitious goals.
6—Challenge Yourself. Walking for longer time periods or walking faster are both great ways to add interest to your walks. A good pedometer or sports watch can help you. If you walk 20 minutes today, aim for 22 minutes tomorrow. If you walk a mile in 18 minutes today, see if you can walk it in 17.5 minutes tomorrow. Keep your challenges to no more than 10% increases (in time or distance) per week to avoid increasing risks of injury.
7—Walk for Transportation. With ever-increasing gas prices, using your own two feet as a method of transportation makes good sense. Walk to the grocery, to the post office, the dry cleaners, to visit a friend. If that is not possible in your area, you can park farther away from the store (driving around looking for a “good spot” wastes lots of gas) and get in extra steps by taking a few walking laps around the perimeter of the store before you shop.
8—Reward Yourself. Make a list of some of the things you enjoy and pick one or two as your rewards for walking. Here are some ideas:
--A long, luxurious bath
--A pedicure or a foot soak and massage
--A cup of tea and a Frasier rerun
--A new pair of soft, thick wicking socks
--A new audiobook or a few new mp3 song downloads
--A new nail polish or lipstick or bath product
--A walking DVD
Bookmark or print a copy of this article for times when you just can’t seem to get out the door or on the treadmill. Try one of these tips each week or every month to keep you walking without boredom!
Show those hard-working tootsies some love:
This is my favorite walking mp3 player—it’s inexpensive, very light and easy to use: