If you think walking has to be boring, think again! Get the most out of walking and make walking FUN! I love walking and in addition to enjoying it; it is my secret weapon for getting and staying in shape.
Walking is my favorite exercise for losing my love handles and boosting my overall wellbeing. I’ve been walking for over 20 years and it never gets old for me. Over the years I’ve found lots of ways to make walking fun as well as effective.
The first key to getting the most our of walking is to find walking that you like! There are different ways to enjoy the benefits of walking and I’m going to share my favorites here. The other thing you can do to get the most out of walking is to combine it with other activities that work well with walking.
FIND WALKING YOU LIKE
When something is fun, you’re more likely to stick with it. And when you stick with something, you get the most benefits from it. So get out there and have some fun
Try Neighborhood Walking
A lot of this depends on where you live. When I lived in residential neighborhoods I was happy walking in my neighborhood. I would experiment until I found the perfect 3-mile loop for my walk.
It’s especially nice when you have good sidewalks and you don’t have to worry about traffic. I have lived in neighborhoods without sidewalks and I still walk but I take extra precautions. I wear bright clothes, walk during daylight, and really pay attention.
Try Walking Trails
Now that I live in a big urban city, I’ve become a fan of the walking trails provided by my city in the big parks. Since safety is always an issue, I wrote about some ways to stay safer on your walks here. I really enjoy walking trails because they provide paved paths, nature, and traffic-free walking.
Going into nature is a bonus in walking. Getting fresh air, sunshine, and the benefit of nature makes walking good for the body, mind, and spirit. Everything My Think Big Life is about! Even if you can’t get to a trail daily, you might consider doing it once a week or so.
Try the Treadmill
Some people like the convenience of a treadmill. I struggle to walk outside in the summer here in Texas and sometimes I’ll go use the gym instead. My daughter created a fast workout for me, 30 minutes. When time or weather is an issue, it can be a great addition to your workout repertoire.
Besides being convenient, treadmills also provide a way to quickly adjust speed, incline, and intensity. You can track your heart rate, speed, miles walked, and calories burned. It can also be a way to catch up on TV shows.
Try In-Home Walking
I like in-home walking with Leslie Sansone. Her walking videos are in 1, 2, and 3 mile sessions. You can do these videos in a small space right in front of your TV or computer. She combines walking with arm movements so you get a full body workout too.
Again, if weather is an issue, this can be a great option! Sometimes when I get home from work or I don’t feel like leaving the house, in-home walking does the trick.
See full affiliate disclosure here.
COMBINE WALKING WITH OTHER ACTIVITIES
Yes, you can do other things while you walk and get the most out of your time. It’s the ultimate multi-tasking.
Learn While You Walk
I just can’t seem to listen to podcasts or talks while sitting at home or in the office. However, an hour long walk is a great opportunity to get some learning in. Save your upcoming podcast or webinar recording to listen to during your walk.
Another way to learn while you walk is to listen to books. Libraries now allow you to check out audio versions of books for a period of time. So you can learn or just be entertained as you walk.
Listen to Music While You Walk
I always keep a walking playlist on my phone. Sometimes I look forward to listening to my music as much as I look forward to the walk. Together they create a perfect combination of relaxation and exertion that makes walking addictive.
Almost any kind of music will work as long as it makes you feel good. I like to pick uplifting, cheerful songs for the most part. But to tell the truth, I’ve loaded it with sadder songs when I needed to process some strong emotions.
The beat of music will also help you keep a good pace. It naturally motivates you to keep moving.
Visit with a Friend
Walking with a friend or partner can be really pleasant. I don’t do it every day because I also like walking on my own. However, I’ve recently begun walking with a friend once a week or so. And I do enjoy it and look forward to our walking visits. It’s a great way to get exercise and catch up with each other.
However, if your walking buddy, stresses you out more than relaxes you, go alone or find someone else.
The only time that I was walking on a regular basis and walking didn’t help me slim up was a period of time, I was walking with a friend who made my walking feel stressful. Her energy did not complement mine! I loved her and loved hanging out with her but it was the wrong energy for my walking.
I believe that part of the reason walking is so beneficial and effective is that it relaxes the body and hopefully reduces stress hormones. If a walking partner causes you to be more stressed, then you lose some of the benefits of walking.
Add Intensity to Your Walk
It may seem counter-intuitive that adding intensity to your walk can make it fun but it’s true. I really enjoy walks that include hills or even some strength training.
I wrote a post about adding intensity to your walk here. The easiest way is to add hills to your walk if you are lucky enough to live in an area that has hills. Other ways include adding stairs, step-ups, or even incline push-ups on a bench or sturdy rail.
Take a Child or Dog for a Walk
Depending on your situation you can take your child or dog for a walk. I especially enjoy pushing my granddaughter around her neighborhood. Back in the day, my kids and I did a lot of walking. I would push a stroller and my husband would strap a kid onto his back. We believed that being outside and walking was good for our health and good for our family.
Check out my Make Walking Fun video on Facebook
After our children weren’t walking with us any more, we found ourselves walking the family pets every evening. Dogs love walking and it’s a great way to get some additional steps in.
FIND WAYS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF WALKING AND BANISH THE BOREDOM FOR GOOD!
Walking is my favorite exercise and over the years I’ve found lots of ways to banish the boredom and make walking even more fun. Exercise needs to give me more than strictly physical results. It has to improve my mental and emotional outlook as well.
When you find ways to make walking fun, you get the best workout there is!
Keep your feet happy too!
Get Sara's Weekly "AHA!" Newsletter
Sign up here to read about real life AHA moments that can shift your thinking. These are the AHAs that stop me and my friends in our tracks and help us live meaningful and successful lives.
I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.