When it comes to fitness, walking ranks supreme. Simply putting one foot in front of the other and adding a little oomph to your step has been shown to help maintain a healthy weight, strengthen bones and muscles, improve balance and coordination, and even aid in managing heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes according to the Mayo Clinic. If the physical benefits weren’t enough for you to get up and stepping, the mood lift from “feel good chemicals” and brain boost from increased blood flow to the brain, should be. The only problem? Walking can get stale.
Strolling the same path each morning, continually passing that same tree on the trails, or (worse yet) running into that nosey neighbor every time you step out can get old. But you don’t have to let monotony ruin your walk. Reach your active-minute goals while staying entertained with these fresh tips.
Go On A Listening Walk
Instead of blasting that same old walk/run mix, unplug and tune in to your surroundings. How many different sounds you can hear on your usual route?
Take In A Visual Feast
Transport yourself far from the everyday by thinking of your walk as an adventure. Absorb the visual beauty that familiarity makes easy to overlook. See how many different birds or flowers you find on your usual path. What shapes can you find in the clouds today?
Learn A New Language
Turn your walk into an educational session. Listen to 20 minutes of a language podcast each time you’re out and use the rest of your walk to practice what you learned.
Be A Cultural Anthropologist
Become a surveyor of your surroundings 365 days a year. Take a photo of your favorite tree or vista every day and create a catalogue of both nature’s beauty through the seasons and your dedication to get in steps.
Venture In The Night
Add diversity to your cardio routine by joining a night hike. Not only will you meet fellow steppers, but you’ll have a naturalist guide you around a chosen area as you use your senses to notice the nature around you. Who knows, being enveloped in darkness could even help you tune to a greater degree.
Make The Most Of A Mile
Draw a one-mile radius around your home, strap on a backpack, and walk any errands that fit into that circle . You might be surprised by how much you can get done on foote. (Reducing your carbon footprint in an environmental bonus!)
Go On A Streak
Challenge yourself to see how long you can keep up a daily walking habit. Start by trying to walk 30 minutes every day for a week, then two weeks, and then three. Before you know it, you’ll have met the goal of walking 30 minutes a day for 30 days in a row.