To make walking a habit, start small and gradually increase the duration and frequency of your walks. Set achievable goals for yourself, such as walking for 10 minutes a day. Then, gradually increase the duration of your walks to 30 minutes or more. Choose a time and place that works best for you and make it a routine. Consider finding a walking buddy or joining a walking group for accountability and motivation. Use apps or fitness trackers to track your progress and stay motivated. Finally, make walking enjoyable by listening to music, audiobooks, or podcasts, or by exploring new routes and scenery. Consistency is key, so keep at it until walking becomes a part of your daily routine.
8 Tips to Make a Healthy Habit of Walking
Adding walking to your daily schedule can be challenging at first. After all, your days are already full of other responsibilities. However, you can make time for fitness by following these tips:
Start with short, easy walks, gradually increasing distance and pace over time. Begin with 10-minute walks 3 times per week. Once you’ve gotten used to this increase the duration of your walks by 5 minutes. Do this each week until you’re going on 30-minute walks. Then, consider adding additional walks to your weekly schedule.
Establish a Routine
Set a regular time for your walks, such as the early morning or after dinner. If it helps, add walks to your calendar and set reminders on your phone. This way, you won’t forget or lose track of time. Walk at the same time 3 to 5 times per week. I find it a lot easier to follow an exercise routine when I have a little extra energy, so I go for walks after my morning coffee.
Find a Walking Partner
Ask a friend, family member, or partner to go on walks with you. You will hold each other accountable and remind one another to stick to your walking routine. Plus, having a walking buddy makes exercise more fun. You’ll have great conversations, as well as someone who can suggest new trails and paths to explore.
Track Your Progress
Measuring your progress can be an excellent motivator that helps make walking a habit. There are several apps available that can help you track your exercise progress. Our favorite apps are:
- MyFitnessPal: This app allows you to track your workouts, set goals, and monitor your progress.
- Strava is a popular app for tracking running and cycling workouts, but it can also be used to track walks and hikes.
- Nike Training Club provides tracking features that help you reach new walking milestones.
- MapMyFitness offers GPS tracking, which makes it ideal if you’re walking for exercise.
In addition to apps, you can invest in a wearable that tracks your walking progress. Fitbit offers a range of wearable devices that can track your exercise progress, as well as an app that allows you to set goals. Additionally, Apple iPhones and watches offer several ways to track your walking progress.
If you’re in discomfort or pain while walking, it will be much harder to stick to your routine. Invest in a good pair of walking shoes to support your feet and prevent injuries. Wear comfortable clothing that protects you from the elements. During rainy weather, waterproof gear can help you feel invincible. If the sun is shining, apply sunscreen to prevent getting burned. The more comfortable you feel during and after your walks, the easier it will be to form a healthy walking habit.
Create a Walking Plan
Set a long-term walking goal and stick to it. A good goal to have is walking three miles per day. Each week, make a little more progress toward your goal. During the first week, you may only walk one mile each day. So, in week two, it’s great to strive for 1.5 miles during each walk. I find exercise more satisfying when I’m working toward a goal that’s currently out of reach. Without a challenge, it’s easy to lose interest and fail to make walking a habit.
Incorporate Walking into Daily Activities
You can build a great walking habit by making sure you do it whenever possible. Instead of riding the elevator, take the stairs. When you’re running errands, park at the far end of the parking lot so you have a longer trip. You can also plan outings that involve walking—visit a nature center, botanical garden, boardwalk, or museum during your free time. As you get used to walking more often, it will feel more natural to go on longer walks for exercise.
Make Walking Enjoyable
Find a safe and enjoyable place to walk, such as a park, trail, or neighborhood. A fun walking trail will help motivate you to make walking a more frequent habit. If you have a walking buddy, use each walk as an opportunity to discuss something new with them. Walking alone can be fun too. Listen to your favorite music or podcast. I like to use walks as an opportunity to call family members and friends. This way, I can stay in touch with loved ones as I exercise.
How Can I Start Walking for Exercise?
Beginning any new exercise routine can be challenging. Walking is no different. Here are the best ways to make your walks a healthy, enjoyable habit:
- Start with short walks, gradually increasing the duration and frequency.
- Choose a time and place that works best for you, and make walking a routine.
- Consider finding a walking buddy or joining a walking group for motivation and accountability.
- Use apps or fitness trackers to track your progress.
- Choose comfortable walking shoes and clothing.
- Set goals so your walks become a fun challenge.
- Make walking enjoyable by listening to music or exploring new routes
Consult your doctor if you have any health concerns before starting a walking routine. Walking is a wonderful habit that will boost your health, fitness, and happiness once you make it a habit.