How to Stay Consistent With Your Walking Routine

How to Stay Consistent With Your Walking Routine

Getting a new habit to ‘stick’ can be tough, and a consistent walking routine is no exception. Walking for exercise is low-impact, simple, and achievable for almost any age group and physique. In fact, a consistent walking routine can provide a whole bunch of health benefits over time, such as:

  • Helping to maintain a healthy weight and lose body fat

  • Preventing or managing conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes

  • Strengthening your bones and muscles

  • Improving muscle endurance

  • Increasing energy levels

  • Improving your mood, cognition, memory, and sleep

  • Improving your balance and coordination

  • Reducing stress and tension

But that’s just the thing—you can only experience these benefits if you keep with the routine for an extended period of time. And while psyching yourself up and jumping in headfirst may seem like the best approach, having a plan in place beforehand will likely increase the chances of your success over the long run (or, well, walk).

Here are seven simple tips to consider to keep your walking routine on the right path well into the future.

1. Set realistic goals

The last thing you want to do with a new exercise routine is to give yourself a lofty goal you have little chance of achieving. Not only do you risk burnout, but you might also find yourself giving up out of frustration because it was unattainable to start with.

The truth is, you don’t need to jump in head first, going as hard as possible—just start small. Try starting, instead, with an achievable distance, such as walking around the block every day, walking three days in a row during your work break every day, and so on.

2. Keep track of your progress

Keeping a record of your progress is one of the best ways to stay motivated and inspired as you go on your fitness journey. Plus, it’s nice to see how you’re improving—or if you’ve hit a plateau. There are many different apps you can use to track your progress, not to mention devices like smartwatches and other wearable fitness trackers. If you prefer to keep things a bit more analog, just record your estimated distances and times on a notepad.

3. Make the walk more enjoyable

Hey, this is walking, after all. There’s nothing wrong with making things a bit more entertaining when needed, even for the most stoic of walkers. If your walks are starting to verge on the boring side, consider taking some steps (pun intended) to make them more challenging or enjoyable.

Ask a friend or non-boring neighbor to join you on your route. Have a dog that can handle being on a leash for extended periods? You may have yourself a new (mostly silent) walking partner.

Another good idea is to use your walking time to listen to new music, podcasts, or audiobooks that you save only for your special walking time.

4. Have a backup plan in place

Hey, life happens. It’s easy for things to go wrong with your schedule—walking time included.

Missing out on your designated time for a walk can easily derail the routine you’ve built up, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Put a backup plan in place that allows you to make up the time later. If you miss out on your usual walk before heading off to work, do it during your lunch break or move your walking time to right after you get home.

The goal is to be flexible and allot time to make up what you’ve missed as needed. Again, it’s going to happen now and then, so go ahead and plan accordingly.

5. Don’t get down if you miss a day

You know what else is bound to happen at some point? Missing a day (or two). Whether you’re feeling under the weather, you can’t go because of the weather, or something comes up last minute, you’re bound to miss a day or two sometimes.

Go ahead and accept this now, and don’t get down on yourself. No one can keep a perfect score with everything, whether walking, running, going to the gym, etc. If you miss a day, it’s fine; get a fresh start the next day and go from there!

6. Choose routes that are safe and appealing (but also mix things up when needed)

One of the keys to a consistent walking routine is getting all the elements of the walk to work in your favor. If your walking route is boring or has stretches where things can get a little sketchy, your motivation could suffer. Lack of scenery, treacherous road crossings, construction, seeing the same old stuff every day, that one part of the neighborhood where there’s always the same loose dog running around and harassing everyone—all of these factors can slowly cause you to stray from your routine. And it’s totally understandable.

So, you should begin by planning out a route that is safe, good terrain, and with the fewest possible interruptions. Over time, try mixing things up by going down different streets in your neighborhood, doing your usual route backward, or even driving to another location nearby for a completely new walking route—whatever it takes to keep things fresh and interesting!

7. Get the right gear

Walking may not be as high impact or intense as some other forms of activity, but setting yourself up with the appropriate gear will make a massive difference in your comfort level. And that will directly affect your motivation.

You’ll be amazed at the difference a good pair of walking or running shoes will make in your daily treks. Whether you’re just getting started or well into your walking routine, shoes like our Tree Flyers and Tree Dashers provide the stability, breathability, and cushioning needed to make your walk a breeze each time you set out. Going out on the trail, our Trail Runners SWT are also a great option.

As for clothing, it’s really a matter of preference, weather conditions, and functionality, but light, breathable running shirts and sweats can make a big difference in your overall comfort level. If your walks are on the lengthier side or you’re walking in hot weather, a water bottle is essential to stay safely hydrated.

And there you have it! Follow these steps to get your routine started (or restarted), and the results will follow. We wish you all the success in maintaining your fitness journey well into the future and beyond.

If you’re ready to take it up a notch and begin running, see How to start running as a beginner.

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