8 Easy Ways to Make Walking More Fun
Get your steps in while having a good time with these expert tips.
Walking is one of the best low-impact ways to burn calories while also reducing stress. Your walk can be as leisurely or as intense as you'd like, and it's one of the few exercises that require no special equipment or skills. But the problem with walking can be the simplicity and monotony. However, fitness experts say there are plenty of ways to make walking more fun. Read on for their clever and easy tips, from creating a great playlist to adding in some other exercises.
Change up your route.
While some people love their routine, walking the same path every time can get tiresome.
"Exploring new paths and neighborhoods can keep your walks interesting," says James DeLacey, coach and consultant at Lift Big Eat Big, who notes that you may be surprised at what you find when you're going somewhere new.
Walking in different areas is not only a nice change of scenery, but it can be good for your body. "Varying your route challenges your body in different ways, as different terrains and inclines provide a well-rounded workout for various muscle groups," says Josh York, certified personal trainer and founder/CEO of GYMGUYZ.
Plus, having more than one route allows some flexibility as you can alternate the days you use each one.
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Listen to a podcast or audiobook.
Podcasts or audiobooks can make your walk fly by. And depending on how long you walk, you could even finish a podcast episode or one to two chapters of an audiobook.
"It's like killing two birds with one stone—you get to enjoy a great story or learn something new while staying active," says DeLacey. Pick something you're interested in, grab your headphones, and you'll be all set.
Create a walking playlist.
Music can boost your mood and, in turn, make a walk more fun. "Create an uplifting playlist before your walk," suggests Anna Chabura, creator of Health Means Happiness. She recommends choosing songs that make you feel good and evoke positive emotions.
You can also make or find a playlist that has songs set to a BPM (beats per minute), Doc Waller, founder and creator of LYFE at Home, tells Best Life. It will give you an added challenge and can distract you from any remaining time or distance you have left.
Use all your senses.
Walking in nature is great for your health and well-being. "It may sound odd, but experiencing your surroundings with your entire body can make walking more enjoyable," says Jennifer Walsh, founder of Walk with Walsh.
Instead of putting in headphones, Walsh recommends listening to nature. Those sounds are known to reduce stress and anxiety without us even realizing it—so it's not surprising that people feel calmer afterward.
If you have pine or cedar trees on your route, Walsh suggests lingering there for a little longer. "These trees release their natural aerosols known as phytoncides (qualities they have to help fight disease)," she explains.
According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, "When people breathe in these chemicals, our bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of a type of white blood cell called natural killer cells or NK. These cells kill tumor- and virus-infected cells in our bodies."
Wear something that makes you feel good.
A workout-specific outfit can do wonders for your self-image and overall mindset. Confidence is key after all, so if you look good, you'll feel good about yourself in return.
"By wearing an outfit that makes you feel empowered and motivated, you'll be more inclined to push yourself further and embrace the challenges of your walk," says York.
The intentional choice of attire also shows that you're committed to what you're doing, and you'll likely feel accomplished down the road.
Add in some other easy exercises.
Waller points to the "drop and give 10" method, which adds simple, bodyweight exercises to your walks.
An easy way to do this is to set your phone or watch for eight-minute periods. "When the timer goes off, stop and do 10 squats, 10 push-ups, or core plank for 10 seconds," says Waller. This will give you an extra boost of energy and keep things fresh.
Tony Horton, celebrity fitness trainer and founder of Power Life, mentions that you can also make your walk a bit more challenging by wearing a light weighted vest or finding terrain with added incline. It will get your legs, lungs, and heart working harder, and you'll end up with a higher calorie burn.
Look for walking videos at home.
It's easy to make excuses to not walk just because the weather is bad, but it's important to get moving regardless.
"As human beings, we are designed to move, not sit all day long, and walking really is the easiest and best type of movement you can do," says Chabura. At-home walking videos make this super easy.
Chabura says if you search "walk at home" videos on Youtube, there are plenty of options depending on what you're in the mood for or your level of fitness. During these workouts, you can achieve between 4,000 to 10,000 steps all while staying dry and comfortable, she tells Best Life.
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Go on a scavenger hunt.
Going on a scavenger hunt, whether you're strolling solo, with friends, or even with children, is exciting and will add some much-needed fun to your walking routine.
"Make a list of things to find during your walk, like a specific type of flower, a bird, or a unique building," suggests DeLacey. You can even add points into the mix and see how many you can get by the end.
With so much to see in the environment, there's no doubt you'll have a long list of new discoveries.