5 Tips for Starting Your Walking Plan
You may or may not be aware of this, but walking is my favorite exercise. I walk 6 days a week on average, regardless of the weather, regardless of my work schedule, and I’ve consistently done this for the last few years.
In this podcast episode, I share with you the reason why I chose walking as my exercise of choice, and then give you five success tips for starting your walking plan, and keeping it up.
Listen to the podcast episode
We're super busy and life happens
So often I hear people talk about how much they need to and really want to start exercising, but have a hard time getting started, or if they get started, they have a hard time keeping up with the routine.
I get it.
Life happens. We're all busy people, and the new exercise plan seems to be the first thing to go when someone gets sick, work schedule changes, you go on vacation or have house guests for a few days, or anything along those lines.
I completely understand how that happens and what that feels like.
For several years, I struggled to find something that I could stick with for longer than 2-3 months at a time.
In a way, it’s good to go through cycles like that because you tend to learn a lot about yourself in the process. You learn what routines do NOT work, and you also learn a lot about what you enjoy and get good results from as well.
Why walking is the perfect exercise for me
As much as I wanted to be a runner….I learned that it wasn’t the best option for me. My knees didn’t respond very well to running which was one of the main reasons I backed away from it.
However, walking was a perfect fit!
It has a much lower impact on my knees. I’m not limited to where I can walk. I don’t have to get to the gym, and no special equipment needed. It fits my multi-tasking nature. Since there are multiple health benefits from walking, it means that I can target several health condition from participating in just this one single exercise.
Did you know…
Walking at least 150 minutes a week can help you:
Reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels.
Boost bone strength and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
Prevent weight gain.
It can actually Increase your energy and stamina, giving you a natural energy boost.
Improve your mental and emotional well-being. I cannot tell you how many times taking a break, getting out of the office or out of the house, and going on a walk has helped me settle my thoughts and calm down from a high stressed or high emotional state of mind.
I know 150 minutes sounds like a lot, but remember that even short 10 or 15 minute walks can add up over the week to help you reach this goal.
You can also think of it as a goal of taking a 30 minute walk, 5 days a week to accomplish 150 minutes total for the week.
I don’t want you to stress out about the 150 minutes per week. It’s more important that you decide to start and have a goal to work toward.
Here are my five tips for starting your walking plan, and keeping it up
1. Set a goal
Start with 150 minutes per week as your goal as a good starting point
You need a goal for the purpose of having a target, focus, something to aim for.
You can think about the health benefits of walking that I just mentioned to keep you motivated and inspired to reach your goal
2. Track your progress
Be honest with yourself when tracking. It is just for your eyes only and does you no good to fudge your numbers.
Helps you know how you’re progressing toward your goal. Your memory can play tricks on you and make you think you walked 30 minutes, when in reality you only walked 10 minutes. The opposite can also happen. When you’re tracking your progress, you may realize that you’ve walked much more than you realized over the course of several days and you’re much closer to your goal for the week than you realized. So, tracking is important.
You can use one of many free apps on your phone to help you with tracking
You can track your walking using the For My Health Today Journal
You can use a fitness watch or smart watch (there are several popular brands such as Apple Watch, Fitbit, and others). I personally use the Fitbit versa and love it! It’s my second Fitbit tracker, but I’m also a fan of Apple products and I’m seriously considering the Apple Watch next.
3. Invest in good shoes and comfortable clothes
While comfortable clothes don’t necessarily mean you need to go out and purchase new items, you may need to purchase a good pair of walking shoes.
I won’t recommend a particular brand at this point because that could turn into an episode all by itself! I do love a good walking shoe and have a few brands that I really like. Maybe I will create a shoes only episode one day and dive into that topic.
For now, I will recommend zappos.com if you’re a fan of shopping online and you already know what you like or would need.
Otherwise, take the time and visit an athletic shoe store with knowledgeable staff to help you with the basics.
4. Dress for the weather
Warm, cold, dark, sunny
Safety for walking during dark hours. With the time change, it can get dark very early in the evening and can take a while to lighten up if you’re a early morning walker like me.
Wear reflective gear
Use LED lights
5. Plan for challenges
Life happens…things change
You can plan for everything, but you can plan for the challenges in general…because they will come
One example that comes to mind is the weather. What will you do when the weather doesn’t cooperate? My favorite solution to this challenge is the Walk at Home video. It took a long time for me to even try this because I just thought it was silly….the idea of walking at home. But someone shared a link to one of the youtube videos and I absolutely feel in love with it! I later talked to a couple of my friends who purchased the videos and follow them faithfully…and have been for a long time. So I’m recommending them as a good solution for weather challenges or to supplement anything you’re not able to walk outside.
Click here for the resources page of the website where you can find links to any of the recommendations that I’ve made on this episode. Its an easy place to put links to some of my favorite tools and items that I’ve found very helpful for me.
Summary and wrap up
So, lets just recap those 5 success tips for starting your walking plan, and keeping it up
Set a goal
Track your progress
Invest in good shoes and comfortable clothes
Dress for the weather
Plan for challenges
Following these tips will help you start your walking plan AND keep it up, reaching your health goals.
If you're thinking about starting a new walking routine now, then click here and I will send you a copy of the Getting Started Checklist.
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Alright everyone, until next time…have a fantastic rest of your day!