Updated: Oct 17
I love walking, hiking, trekking, and traipsing through the woods in search of treasure. It's exercise, mental health, and time with those I love.
Of course walking is great exercise, but it's become a form of self-care for me. I feel better physically, mentally, and socially when I move regularly.
Building new habits can be a challenge. If walking is on that list I have some tips to get you moving. Walking is free and a great place to start but these tips could help you with other activities you enjoy- that's the key, finding what you love.
How to Get Moving
1. Decide to Start
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits teaches us "action comes before motivation."
I know sometimes you just don't feel like it. But you just have to get started. It doesn't have to be an hour the first time out. Once you decide to start walking, add it to your calendar or to do list for a length of time that is easy to accomplish, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes - whatever works for you.
I know that the loop around my neighborhood takes 7 minutes to walk, so that is where I started, one loop a day was all I had to do to be successful. I could always walk for longer but "getting a win" was easy and made me feel good. Recently, I told one of my clients all he had to do was walk to the stop sign and back. Remember to make it easy. When you feel solid in the habit and are ready physically, add more time or intensity as you progress.
2. Get a Walking Buddy
We are more successful when we are accountable and it's fun with friends! I walk everyday with my dog. Believe me, she keeps me accountable. I enjoy the walks but I also need to do it for her.
Two years ago I co-founded a walking club. We use a Facebook Group to manage it and regularly post the schedule of weekly walks. I have met some great people in beautiful parks and nature preserves.
My husband and I walk regularly in support of each other and for "date walks." Sometimes we hold hands and sometimes I walk faster than him, but we are together, and that keeps us connected.
3. Get a Tracker
I have an Apple Watch and I love what it has done for my health journey. My goal is to close the three rings: move calories, exercise minutes, and standing each hour.
My watch also tracks my steps for the day. I have a goal of 10,000 steps a day. When I started my goal was 6,000. You need to choose an amount that works for where you are right now. If after wearing a tracker for a few days you realize you are averaging just 3,000 steps a day then setting a goal of 3,500-4,000 most days is a good start.
There are other brands such as Garmin and Fitbit. Do some research and choose the one right for you.
4. Make it a Competition
I love to win. It doesn't have to be anything major to get the rush of success. Create a competition with yourself or a friend. Who can walk the longest, fastest or be the most consistent? If you are looking for something more formal, my Apple Watch allows me to challenge myself or friends to competitions. Just be sure to make it encouraging/playful. You need to be competing with yourself or someone that has a similar or slightly higher level of fitness.
5. Make it Entertaining
I love to read and I am a huge fan of audiobooks. I have monthly subscription to audible.com.
When I am in the middle of a good book, solving a murder mystery, you can't stop me from walking in circles in my own backyard. I have a friend that prefers Podcast. That's awesome too.
Make it an Adventure
Finding new places to explore is fun for me. My husband and I recently got a travel trailer and we are looking forward to hiking and glamping all over the United States. I love Colorado and Nevada. I am currently researching Washington and Oregon hikes.
I host Art, Yoga, and Adventure retreats all over the world. I include a hike or a walking tour on each agenda. If you are up for an adventure, I recommend a Costa Rican rainforest and the Amalfi Coast's Path of the Gods. I am headed to Greece in 2024 and Spain is on my list!