Walking is one of the easiest ways to get into shape. All you need is a good pair of shoes and some decent weather. And yet, many of us dread our morning walks or give it up altogether shortly after beginning.
If you dream of becoming one of those glowing, exhilarated women who exclaim, “Whew! Good walk!” rather than collapsing into a sweaty mess on the sofa, you have to learn to love walking. But how?
Don’t expect too much of yourself. Sometimes we hate things simply because we aren’t good at them. Remember that if you’re a beginner, there is no shame in being unable to hike for miles on your first try. Plenty of avid long-distance walkers weren’t able to walk more than a quarter of a mile when they first started! Start out walking at a comfortable pace around your neighborhood, and gradually build up your endurance for long distances and hills.
Slow it down. A steady pace is all you really need to reap the heart and calorie-burning benefits of exercise. You’re not in a race! Train yourself at a comfortable pace, and don’t worry about distance covered. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of exercise, and work your way up from there when you’re comfortable.
Set smaller goals. If you set enormous goals during your first week, you’ll only discourage yourself. Push yourself to walk to the next mailbox, the next utility pole, or the next intersection. When you pass that milestone, set a new one.
Pick some good tunes. Good, upbeat music can distract you from the physical exertion and motivate you to keep moving. Choose songs that are 120 to 140 beats per minute.
There’s an app for that. Choose a smart phone app that logs your miles and speed for you. Seeing your progress can motivate you to beat your own best speed or distance. If you’re looking for a creative approach to motivation, try a fun app like Zombies, Run! The story line will keep you entertained on your daily walks, and you may find yourself walking longer and faster if you can allow your imagination to take over.