Getting your daily steps in can do so much more than help you lose weight.
Whether you decide to lace up your walking shoes and walk to work, pair up with a friend, or join a hiking group, research shows that walking can do everything from lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of chronic diseases to making your brain sharper and your heart happier.
Starting a walking routine is simple because it requires so little: comfortable, supportive walking shoes and your own two feet.
So if you’re ready to turn walking into a daily habit, keep on reading.
- Schedule It
It can be difficult to find the time to exercise, so if you treat walking as an automatic “must” on your daily list — like brushing your teeth or taking your vitamins — then there’s no debate about whether you will or won’t do it.
Schedule at least 30 minutes of walking every day into your calendar and before long, it’ll be a rock-solid habit.
- Make It Fun
Having a friend (human or furry) waiting for you to take a walk helps hold you accountable and makes it more enjoyable.
No candidates for an actual walking partner? No problem. Use your phone to call a friend while on your walk. Or, if that doesn’t work, you can use your phone to listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks.
- Mix Up Your Route
Sometimes a change of scenery is what you need to really look forward to your walk. Maybe that means saving your favorite park loop for hectic Mondays or celebrating with a beach walk on Friday.
You can also walk the route in reverse, or if you’re doing the same route, you can do things like pick up the pace. Do some intervals. Speed up for 30 seconds, then go back to your normal pace.
- Keep Track of Your Progress
A walking log, a pedometer, even a little notation in your calendar — anything will do. That’s because keeping track of your miles and goals increases your odds of sticking to your plan.
- Reward Yourself
It might sound silly, but having a reward waiting for you at the end of your walk actually takes advantage of a feedback loop built into our brains. It doesn’t have to be anything big.
If you enjoy a morning cup of coffee, start your coffee maker, go on your walk and enjoy your reward when you get home. Or if you prefer to walk in the evenings, maybe your reward is unwinding with a hot bath.