Why even bother with walking when there are so many other forms of cardio that burn way more calories in way less time?
This used to be my attitude for a long time; I felt like if an exercise wasn’t hard or uncomfortable, it wasn’t worth doing.
I couldn’t have been more wrong! Walking helped me change my lifestyle three years ago, and to this day it is still one of my favorite forms of exercise.
So if you’re in need of a little inspiration to get up off the couch today, here are a few tips for learning how to motivate yourself to walk more.
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1. Learn the benefits
I think the first step to getting pumped up for a walk is to realize exactly how walking regularly benefits your health.
Let’s start with the obvious: walking is low-impact. You’re way less likely to hurt yourself walking than you are doing nearly any other exercise.
Unless you’re klutzy like I am and have a tendency to trip over your own feet. Even still, you’re way less likely to pull a muscle from over-exertion or overuse.
Secondly, walking is low stress and enjoyable, especially if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with nice scenery nearby.
And walking for exercise is effective. Even just ten minutes at a brisk pace can burn around 50+ calories on average. (Of course, that figure varies depending on your weight, age, and gender.)
That may not sound like a lot but it adds up quickly.
Say you go for a 30-minute walk every day. That’s 150 calories a day, 4200 calories a month – well over a pound per month, just from walking a little every day. Go for two or three walks a day and that can easily become two or three pounds a month.
There are even more health benefits from a regime of regular walking, like helping to boost your immune system, protect your joints, and even prevent some types of cancer.
2. Spring for some stylish new walking shoes
I know this sounds a little silly but hear me out.
Whenever I buy new clothes or accessories for a purpose, I’m much more excited about doing whatever that activity is. For example, whenever I buy a new blouse for work, I look forward to going to the office a little bit more because I get to wear my new threads. (At least that used to be the case, I’ve been working from home for nearly the past year!)
The same goes for athletic wear.
The good news is, you don’t have to blow the budget to find new accessories you can get excited about!
I recently bought some dance sneakers by Slow Man that are affordable, stylish, and functional. They really helped me look forward to my dance workouts.
But now I’m buying their cute “sock shoes” that are specifically designed for comfy walking. There are so many colors to choose from I might get two pairs… These purple ones are calling to me!
3. Find a walking motivation app
If I want to get a seriously calorie-burning walk in, I’ll cue up one of Aaptiv’s audio-guided walking workouts. I love this app because you can also choose workouts based on the kind of music you like listening to.
(Personally, I’m a fan of funk!)
Having someone coaching you through your walk helps you to stay focused on the exercise and push yourself. It will surprise you how quickly your walks go by!
You can also use Aaptiv for other low-impact, home-based exercises including yoga, pilates, sleep meditations, and more.
Another reason I love this app is you can try it for 30 days free before deciding if you will continue to subscribe or not.
4. Get a Fitbit
I am a huge proponent of fitness trackers! They literally changed my life.
Because knowledge is power. Fitness trackers give you a way to keep tabs on how far you’re walking, how many calories you’re burning, and how much progress you’re making.
In other words, they give you tangible numbers and goals to work towards.
In my opinion, Fitbit is one of the best on the market, particularly the Versa 2.
Not only does it count your steps, but (depending on the model) it logs your calories burned, floors climbed, heart rate, sleep patterns and more.
The other reason I suggest Fitbit over say, the Apple Watch (which is what I currently own) is that they are affordable with several different models depending on your budget.
5. Take a challenge
I like taking on challenges rather than setting goals because it turns the exercise into more of a game.
What kind of challenge you take depends on what gets you motivated.
What got me started was the “10,000 steps a day” challenge, which translates to 1-1.5 hours of total walking a day.
It sounds like a lot, but when you factor in the normal amount of walking you do in a day – to and from work, around your house, running errands, etc – it usually ends up being much less than an hour of dedicated walking.
If you do better with a little competition, you can compete in stepping challenges with your friends, too.
Fitbit users can compete in the “Workweek Hustle” or “Weekend Warrior” challenges each week for some friendly competitive stepping.
Better still, you can do my 30-Day Step Count Challenge – a one-page printable that gradually ramps you up to 20,000 steps a day over the course of a month.
Print it out, stick it on your fridge, next to your treadmill, or next to the front door to keep you motivated on getting your steps in!
You don’t even need a wearable fitness tracker to do this – if you have any kind of smartphone, there should be a built in app for tracking your steps, which means as long as you keep your phone with you, you can do this challenge!
6. Make your walk more entertaining with audiobooks
There are few times in life when multitasking is as effective as we’d like to think it is. Fortunately, multitasking while exercising is one of those times!
If I go for a longer walk, I like to pop on an audiobook to get some “reading” in while I exercise.
You can learn how to motivate yourself to walk by treating yourself to a riveting story that you only listen to while you’re out walking.
If you’re new to audiobooks, I highly recommend getting started with Audible, Amazon’s audiobook subscription.
You get two downloads a month of just about any book you can think of, and once you’ve downloaded it, it’s yours forever.
You even get a one-month free trial, which means 2 books totally for free. It’s a no-brainer! (You might be interested in some of these other advantages to having an Audible subscription, too!)
My own results with walking
When I was younger, I was something of a cardio bunny. I loved to run and have a number of races under my belt, including two half-marathons. But I had to stop with such repetitive high-impact exercise due to the strain it was putting on my hips.
I ended up not exercising very much at all for the next two or three years.
In that time I put on over 20 lbs. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m on the petite side with a small frame.
I certainly felt and saw the difference.
As someone who was used to torching a ton of calories with sprinting, the idea of walking for exercise seemed like a joke.
Then I got a Fitbit for Christmas, and it changed my whole perspective.
Because walking is something you can do anytime, anywhere, without really needing anything other than some decent walking shoes.
I’d even “get my steps in” by walking around my house and up and down the stairs.
That may sound silly but guess what? I lost 10 lbs in 2 months, and it felt completely effortless.
Even though I have since become a big fan of HIIT and other more vigorous forms of exercise, walking remains to be one of my favorite ways to exercise simply because of how easy and enjoyable it is.
Conclusion: walking is an easy exercise that pays off
Exercise doesn’t always have to be hard to be effective. Walking is proof of that!
And any exercise is infinitely better than no exercise.
After you’ve made walking a habit, don’t be surprised if you find yourself having more energy and motivation to try other types of exercise.
Do you have any other suggestions on how to motivate yourself to walk? Let’s hear them in the comments!