The beauty of walking? You can do it pretty much anywhere. Mountains, the beach, forests and rolling green hills; your gym, if you choose to walk for exercise.
But as a society, we’re fixated with intense workouts. We want a regime that’ll help us get the fitness results we want fast. So it’s no surprise that most people choose running, spinning, CrossFit and Military Fitness over the gentle art of putting one foot in front of the other.
However, there are many reasons to choose walking over high-impact and fast-paced alternatives. This gentle exercise is great if you’re suffering from an injury or illness, it’s free, and it can easily be integrated into everyday life. Walk enough, and it’s an accessible, easy-going way to keep fit.
Here are 30 tips on how to maximise your fitness levels through walking. Feel motivated to step outside your door, and pursue this modest exercise as your next fitness obsession:
1. Use a FitBit tracker - Feel motivated to walk by monitoring how many steps you’re taking each day, setting goals and acknowledging your progress.
2. Walk to the shops - For your shop ‘pop-ins’, put your shoes on and leave the house without your car keys.
3. Walk straight after a meal: According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, walking just after a meal rather than waiting 30 minutes is much more effective for weight loss.
4. Borrow a dog: Dogs LOVE walks. Bring a pooch along and their joy for the outdoors will put a huge smile on your face.
5. Bring a friend: If it’s a gorgeous day, chances are your friends will want to be outside too. Walking is better with great conversation.
6. Switch up the terrain: Did you know there’s a 60% increase in calories burned when walking uphill compared to moving on flat terrain? Use the app MapMyWalk.com to plan your inclines!
7. Set destinations as goals: Whether it’s the pub or a cultural landmark, pick something that will motivate you to walk towards your finish line.
8. Pick somewhere beautiful for hiking: Turn your exercise into an experience by exploring THE outdoors and soaking in the natural beauty.
9. Buy comfortable shoes: Invest in a new pair of light trainers to avoid achy feet.
10. Bring layers: Especially if you’re hiking somewhere mountainous or near the sea, pack a few light-weight tops to combat the changing weather.
11. Carry water: Being dehydrated will make you tired, and increase the chances you’ll want to quit too soon for a beverage.
12. Bring healthy snacks on long hikes: Eating is a great way to reward yourself. Plan Snack stops along your route to kerb hunger and increase your motivation.
13. Go on a photography expedition: Taking pictures of pretty landscapes can add another level of enjoyment to your walks.
14. Go backpacking: Walking to and from hotels, attractions and travel links is a natural part of backpacking and an excellent way to unconsciously exercise.
15. Join a walking group: trekking while socialising and networking is a great way to make friends who are passionate about fitness too.
16. Set goals every day: Motivate yourself with DAILY goals. Think in miles and destinations, and reward yourself after each target is met.
17. Buy a comfortable bag: Avoid back pain from an ill-fitted or cheap bag by opting for quality and comfort.
18. Stop your online spends: Online shopping saves you time and effort. But SHOPPING SPREES around the city will do wonders for your fitness.
19. Work and walk: If your job involves creative thinking and idea generation, bring along a notebook and jot down your thoughts to enhance your productivity.
20. Think about your savings: If money is tight, opting to walk instead of paying for an expensive gym membership will save you buckets of cash.
21. Pace yourself: You might feel motivated to walk fifty miles, but are you fit enough? Start with achievable targets to avoid feeling overly tired and discouraged.
22. Listen to a podcast: Get stuck into inspirational podcasts like The Real Hiking Viking and feel energised to keep those legs moving.
23. Take the stairs: Set yourself a new rule: no elevators or escalators when stairs are available.
24. Walk fast: Pick up the pace to burn even more calories. But don’t push yourself too hard.
25. Phone a friend: Preoccupy yourself while exercising by calling a friend or family member. The minutes and miles will fly by.
26. Pack a raincoat: Walking in the rain can be both refreshing and relaxing, but only if you have a waterproof on hand!
27. Go on a walking holiday: There are some incredible hiking routes across the globe, such as Jotunheim National Park in Norway and Tamang Heritage Trek in Nepal, begging to be explored.
28. Enjoy ‘me’ time: Make a daily habit of walking by yourself to clear your head.
29. Ditch the watch: Leave your watch at home so your journey isn’t dictated by a set time. Walk until you want to stop, not when you should.
30. Know your route: There’s beauty in not knowing where the road will take you. But getting lost can be stressful. Eliminate this worry by memorising your route, or bringing a map with you.
Make it happen.
Whether you’re a rambler, a hiker, a fast walker or a wanderer, there’s no doubt that if you do it enough, walking will keep you fit. Integrate this exercise into your daily life, and see it as an opportunity to learn about the natural world, to relax, and to stay healthy. Do this, and never look back.