As a gal who plans to celebrate her 65th birthday by walking 65+ miles of the Camino de Santiago, I have been a little too attached to settling my butt into a comfy chair and watching the world go by. The last few warm weeks of 2012 sparked both hubby and I to lace up our walking shoes. We easily put up 6-8 miles on each weekend day. Not too shabby. Especially for the old guy, who thought walking was that thing you did to get to the car. We had a goal. We were working it. And then…winter arrived in the Pacific Northwest and our walking days appeared to be over. My shoes stood in the closet waiting patiently, but I ignored them for days, weeks, and now a couple of months. They say it takes 30 days to MAKE a habit, and I’m here to tell you it takes a only couple of days of cold, dark and wet to break one.
So, now that Spring is right around the corner and we can count the weeks until we leave for Spain (29 to be exact), it’s time to kick our walking program into gear or we’ll be riding the Sag Wagon of Shame across Spain. And, that’s not going to happen if I have anything to say about it.
Since a body at rest tends to stay at rest and it’s time to get this body back in motion, I went looking for a little motivation and inspiration. I found just what I needed at Wonders of Walking and everybodywalk.org
Here are a six great tips to help you (and me) get back the healthy walking habit:
1. Tell others and find a walking buddy. Telling others somehow makes me more accountable to stick with it. Having a walking date with friends (or the hubs) will get you out the door even when you don’t feel like it.
2. Have a weather plan. It’s winter. It’s dark and cold and icy and wet. Don’t use the weather as an excuse. Worst case, walk at the mall or on the dreaded treadmill at the gym. Really, unless it’s pouring rain, you’ll warm up pretty quickly and enjoy being outdoors so much that it’s worth a little cold. Gloves, hat, warm socks and good shoes are a must. And a hankie. Why does the cold make your nose drip?
3. Start Slow. If you haven’t been walking for a while (or ever), don’t go for the ten miler on your first day. Thirty minutes a day at least five days a week can make a huge difference in your health. Your can do the 30 minutes in 10 minute increments if you need to. Do what you can and work up from there.
4. Keep a log. Buy a pedometer and wear it. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day and then keep going. Or, try one of the phone apps like everybodywalk. I just got mine. It looks great. I’ll let you know how it works. It’s motivating to watch your steps and miles add up.
5. Sign up for a charity walk. These walks are fun, festive, and you are doing a good thing for others while you are doing good for yourself. Win/Win. Plus, there is nothing like walking across a finish line. You feel a sense of accomplishment – no matter how long it took you.
6. Join a walking group. Whether its a group of friends that meets three mornings a week or one of the local AVA groups, walking with others creates social opportunities of being with others who share similar goals and interests. I’ve been curious about Volkswalking for a few years now. I think this is the perfect time to join up. What a great way to meet new people, explore walking routes all over the country.
What are your favorite walking tips?