Walking helps you stay active and improve your overall health. Many health experts recommend walking at least 30 minutes a day. But to keep up those half-hour walks, you need to make sure your walking routine is fun, fresh and interesting. If you lose interest during your walks you’re more likely to drop this healthy habit.
So what can you do to make your walks more fun and keep yourself motivated? Here are some creative tips for shaking things up on your daily walks.
Where you choose to walk can have an impact on how interesting you find walking. If you always set out from your home and walk around the same few blocks, it’s no surprise when you find yourself getting bored. Try these tips to change up your walking locations and get more out of your walks.
- Switch it up: If you usually walk outdoors, find a cool indoor location (and vice versa). Museums, malls, and indoor tracks are some places you can try. If you have access to a treadmill, that’s another option to try.
- Find a new starting point: If you usually start from your home, drive to a new and interesting location like a nearby park or trail, or just a different neighborhood. Walking on trails can be particularly engaging and challenging, with rougher terrain and elevation changes.
- Take advantage of your location: If you live in a city, you can often choose a brand new walking route by simply walking in a different direction. Explore and find a new boutique or cafe! If you’re in a more rural area, you may need to drive to find a walking location but there’s likely more scenic trails and natural areas to walk in. Find the positives in your current situation and take advantage of them.
- Get some local flavor: Study some local history and take yourself on a historical walking tour of your city or town.
- Do some errands: If you live within walking distance of your bank, library, or grocery store, combine walking with some errands. Make sure you bring a backpack to carry your groceries or books home.
You can add fun and variety to any walking route by adding some activities to your walks. Just make sure you stay safe while walking – particularly if you’re walking near roads or areas with obstacles. From listening to music to snapping pictures, try some of these activities to spice up your walking routine.
- Check out a podcast. Podcasts offer an endless variety of topics to keep you interested, including news, science, pop culture and more. Find ones you like that match the length of your walks, and you’ll stay motivated to finish your workout. Here are a few to get you started.
- Listen to music. Come up with a few different playlists to jazz up your routine. You might find that you prefer a high-energy playlist on certain days and a calmer one for other walks. Music can actually help you walk farther at a faster pace!
- Work on your photography. You can bring a small camera on your walks or just use your phone’s camera. Work on improving your photography skills while you walk, and give yourself fun challenges (photograph three different kinds of trees, for example). If you don’t have great natural scenery, urban photography is just as fun and challenging to perfect! Try posting the most interesting pictures from your walks to the Pacer social feed, or to a photo-based social media site like Instagram.
- Get into birdwatching or plant identification. If you walk outdoors, you’re likely to spot some interesting plants and birds, even in a residential neighborhood. You can snap pictures or just make notes on what you see, and use a guide like Cornell’s All About Birds site or the iNaturalist app to identify your discoveries later.
- Make a phone call. Catch up with an old friend during your walk or take care of some calls on your to-do list. Your walk will fly by and you’ll enjoy a good conversation.
- Dictate something. Dictate an email, blog post, or creative writing project while walking. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of your walk, and you probably won’t be watching the clock if you’re focusing on getting things done.
- Meditate. There’s a traditional meditation practice called “walking meditation” which combines walking with mindfulness. You can listen to a guided meditation while walking or just practice focusing on your own. Check out Pacer’s new Mindful Walks in the workouts section to get started!
Doing the exact same thing during every walk is a recipe for boredom. Making some minor changes to your walking routine can help you shake off the “blahs” and keep things interesting.
- Find a buddy: If you usually walk alone, try walking with a friend. Not only will you have someone to talk to, having your walking buddy for accountability might help you to stay motivated.
- Go solo: If you walk in a group, on the other hand, try a few solo walks to take some time to yourself. You may enjoy the meditative nature of walking alone sometimes. You also may be able to take care of some errands or walk in a new area if you’re going solo.
- Join a group: Find a local Meetup group or walking club and join them. You can enjoy meeting new people with a common interest while getting your steps in.
- Change the time: Try walking at a different time of day than usual. Morning walkers can try walking at night, or nighttime walkers in the morning. You may see completely different sights, and sometimes changing up your routine can keep things fresh.
- Train for a 5k: You don’t need to jog or run – there are plenty of charity walks that can serve as great walking motivation. Go ahead and commit to a specific 5k event so that you stay on track. You’ll want to focus on taking longer walks to get ready.
- Use intervals: Interval training, or doing periods of fast and slow walking, can make your walks more varied and interesting.
- Go short or go long: If you’re used to taking long walks, try doing some more intense, shorter walks (or interval training) or spread out your walks during the day. If you’re used to shorter walks, try to walk a bit longer. Long walks can be tiring, so work your way up slowly. A good idea is to find a place where you can basically walk laps – that way you can stop any time.
What other new ideas can you come up with to spice up your walks? With a bit of creativity, walking can be an activity you look forward to each day instead of a chore. Don’t forget to stay safe while walking! If you’re listening to headphones or talking to a friend, make sure you’re still paying attention to car traffic or obstacles in your path.
If you haven’t downloaded the Pacer app yet, download Pacer for free (on mobile)! You can also check out our website (mobile or desktop) or follow our blog for more great walking and healthy lifestyle tips.