It isn’t sexy, glamorous, or cool, and even though many people think it’s boring, it works and works great! What is it? Walking. Dr. Thomas Frieden, former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says, “{walking is} the closest thing we have to a wonder drug.”  

Wow. That’s a pretty strong statement. Here’s another article on the many benefits of walking we published a while ago on Why Walking Is Amazing, if you missed it.

God designed us to walk; it’s one of our strengths. Walking is a beautiful thing – a wonderful experience! Don’t think so? Then, ask someone who tragically lost the ability to walk.

How unfortunate we spend most of our time sitting down. 

Sitting down and sitting still is unhealthy. Consider these findings reported by the Mayo Clinic, “Researchers analyzed 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels. They found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to that posed by obesity and smoking.”

If anything is clear, it’s this: we need to move more; adding walking to our lifestyle is a great start.

What if we made walking a habit, like brushing our teeth, doing the laundry on the weekends, or taking the trash out every week? 

Here are some ideas to add more walking to your life so it becomes a habit, like brushing your teeth.

Find A Walking Path

Find a safe nearby trail, path, or route you might enjoy walking. If it’s too far away, you won’t do it daily. If you have a favorite place over thirty or forty minutes away, save it for the weekends. 

Otherwise, look for something nearby. Your neighborhood is ideal if it’s safe and pedestrian-friendly because you can leave from your front door and be on your way.

Use The Same Route

Using the same route forms a groove in your mind to make walking a habit. When you know a route well and how long it takes to walk, you can quicken your pace to beat what you did last time. And you can measure your progress to track improved fitness levels. 

Listen Or Plan or Pray or Meditate…

Own your walking experience. People use walking for many different reasons. For some, it boosts creativity. Others use it to mediate and talk to God. Some want silence and the gift of connecting with themselves. Some like relaxing and listening to their favorite music, podcasts, or books. Others like socializing with their friends during their walks by inviting them to join them or calling them on the phone and talking while they walk. 

You can entice yourself to go walking by saving your favorite music or podcast for your walk and only listening to it there. This is a great way to bribe yourself for those days you don’t feel like walking. 

The More, The Merrier

We mentioned this briefly, but consider walking with others or forming a walking group. If you don’t want to start one, find one in your area or invite a friend or neighbor to be your walking buddy. But promise you’ll still walk if something comes up and they can’t join you. Walking with a partner has many benefits: it’s safer and more fun, boosts your social connection, strengthens your immune system, builds accountability, and makes time pass faster.

If walking doesn’t excite you, create momentum to quickly build this habit by setting your timer for five minutes and going for a short, pleasant walk. You’ll find that you actually DO enjoy walking because of how it makes you feel. In fact, chances are you’ll want to walk longer next time you go because the fresh air will relax your mind and body, calming your nerves, reducing stress, and clearing your mind.

Give these tips a try to encourage yourself to make walking a daily habit for better health, a stronger mind, and a more peaceful, less-stressed life.

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