How to Make Walking a Habit

Walking is a fantastic way to stay fit, healthy and active. But for some, staying accountable to a constantly moving lifestyle can be tricky. Here are 10 tips to help you make walking a habit, rain or shine.

  1. Get involved in a community group. “There is always strength in numbers and having your friends or the community group hold you accountable will keep pushing you,” encourages Stephanie Carpenter, Wellness Director at Grand Traverse Bay YMCA.
  2. Tackle your vista views bucket list. We know you have a handful of sights you’ve seen pictures of and have been dying to see in person. And most are probably accessible only via trail. Jot down these picture-perfect places, grab a friend, and start crossing them off the list!
  3. Adopt a four-legged friend. A new puppy needs to stretch young legs and work off energy. What a great excuse to join your pooch on daily walks outdoors.
  4. Track your progress. Using a pedometer is a great way to set goals, track your steps, and keep yourself accountable. Bonus: Reward yourself when you accomplish your target!
  5. Get hooked on a new podcast. You’d be surprised how a couple of earbuds and an inspiring audio series can take you to a whole new world. Who knows, the topics may inspire you to start your own fitness podcast, or make you forget you’re even exercising!
  6. Register for a healthy event and train with a buddy. Whether it’s an area 5K race, the M22 Challenge, or Paddle Antrim Festival, “meeting others that have the same passion as you will motivate you to keep going or pushing yourself harder,” Stephanie Carpenter says.
  7. Spice up your shoes. Neon laces. Motivational buttons. Or a new pair of kicks. Whatever it takes to put a smile on your face while strolling—do it!
  8. Download an app. Several applications for your smartphone are available to help you make walking a habit: with built-in GPS to review your route, social networking sites to share your successes, and encouraging audio pep talks.
  9. Network while moving. Skip having business over coffee, and invite your colleagues to accompany you on a walk instead. Since exercise increases your heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain, you’re more likely to have good ideas and clear vision. “Exercise will also release many hormones, all of which help provide nourishment to the brain cells,” Carpenter says.
  10. Learn to race walk. Ready to take walking to the next level? The Traverse City Track Club hosts race walking clinics to fulfill your competitive urges! All levels of walkers are welcome.