If you are reading this then you have probably found my page because, like me, you know at least some of the magical benefits of walking for health. I started fortythousandfootsteps.com because I’ve used walking to get healthy and happy before and I want to stay healthy and happy even when life gets hard. I want to complete a minimum of 10000 steps per day and I want to encourage you to become more active by raising your walking game. I try to answer your questions by researching the facts and delivering you top-quality articles about walking for health. Today I am going to be looking at how to make walking fun.
I love walking, I always have. I am the guy who cannot just watch TV, I have to be doing something else too (usually playing with my phone). Because I have so much fun on my walks, I guess I assumed everyone must have fun but some of you need a little more. The question you ask is not how to make walking more fun, it’s…
How To Make Walking Fun – Why
When you are raising your game, busy schedules, muscular soreness, bad weather, or even just general distractions can demotivate you. While many will preach willpower and determination, I say you should leverage the other side. By making sure your walk is something to look forward to you will want to get out and walk more. You will find yourself moving things around to make your walking schedule work and you will be certainly less inclined to look for an excuse.
Each and every one of you will have different needs, so some of these ideas will work better for some of you and less for others. I personally will never get bored on a walk by myself, however, if I am walking with others and I don’t like the route, I not in control of changing the route and the conversation is not interesting, I will probably get bored. You might prefer a stable route and some conversation.
This is perhaps the go-to idea for making anything more interesting. I know there are people that claim to not like music, but for most of you, music is a great option.
Make a playlist of songs you really enjoy and dedicate your walking time to listening to that playlist. You have just added another benefit getting out there and walking. You can even merge your entertainment with increasing your targets. As you update your playlist when you add a song you can walk for about 3 minutes more to listen to it. When you remove a song you’re starting to get bored of, you can try to do your previous route 3 minutes faster.
If you have Spotify, as well as the option to make a playlist, you can choose to listen to those of others. Alternatively, you can just put your iTunes on shuffle and trust your music taste. It’s your collection so if it doesn’t work, you’ve only got you to blame.
I rarely take my music walking anymore but in the past, it has always been feel-good music that I opt for. I remember one occasion, I was walking through Gunnersbury Park in London and I did three things on this list, none of the three were planned.
The first thing was I had taken my headphones so was listening to music. I stepped out of the shade of a tree-lined path and onto a wide-open field on a bright sunny day right at the moment the Coldplay song, Fix You was at its peak volume and tempo. I had a feel-good sensory overload. Before I realized what I had done, I was standing still in this field looking up with my arms raised at full span. I did not care who was paying attention or what they thought.
You are probably wondering which other two things I did that fateful day in Gunnersbury Park. The great news is I am going to tell you. London can be a great place to raise your walking game. There are plenty of parks, historic buildings, and canals to visit and if you walk too far you can hop on the tube and get home easily.
However, during the first lockdown of 2020, with nonessential businesses being closed, it meant there was very little availability of public restrooms. As a result, the would-be walkers, hikers, and ramblers of London were limited to their locale. Fortunately, less than one mile away from my home was Gunnersbury Park. As much as I loved Gunnersbury, walking around the path on the park perimeter was becoming less interesting as I was doing it too frequently.
Gunnersbury is not the biggest park but it’s big enough. I made the conscious decision to alter my route. I did not my route, I just decided to step off the path when the moment felt right.
In fact, this is something I do more regularly now. All you need to do is be random in your walk, especially if you don’t know the area inside out. By applying a sense of wonder, you are engaging your brain in a different way and may make you feel more fulfilled on your walk.
Before I tell you the third thing, I just wanted to add another safety first disclaimer. If you don’t know the area, make sure you look out for any potential risks like dimly lit areas or uneven ground.
The sensory overload I experienced that day in the park made me unable to think about anything else except my immediate sensory experience. If you can forget all your worries and challenges and just engage in the now you will likely feel better on your walk.
The even better news is that you don’t actually need music or randomness. You can be mindful by engaging your brain in anything going on around you. I love thinking about the lives of the trees and animals I see or asking myself about the history of buildings and streets in London that have led them to now.
In the countryside, I can meet horses, cows, pheasants, and even owls. The sounds of the ocean are great at the beach or the sound of a waterfall in the woods works wonders too.
If you are still not convinced, this study completed on 18 to 65-year-olds in 2011 is one of many promoting mindful walking as a form of stress relief.
Read A Book – Well Kind Of
If you subscribe to audible, you can get one free audiobook every month. This can be great if you already read books in your personal life or for work. Why not use the time to take a walk and have the books read to you.
The reason you can enjoy your walks more by completing the things on this list is that you can associate more positive feelings to your walk. A good audiobook can make you feel more productive, can teach you something, or can entertain you.
If you know the only way you are getting that book finished is by going on your walk, then you are more likely to do it. After you are finished you can feel great for completing both walking and book listening targets.
If you are trying to raise your heart rate, why not powerwalk alternating chapters to really get the most out of your walk.
Or A Podcast
Much like with an audiobook, podcasts can be entertaining and/or educational. With so many free podcasts to choose from, you can select whatever you want.
I occasionally listen to podcasts when I am walking because the only other time I listen to a podcast is to go to sleep. I can play an educational podcast and then just walk away the minutes while focussing on what I am learning.
Phone A Friend Or Take One With
Gone are the days when talking to someone on the telephone meant you were tethered to a location by a coiled telephone cord. Thanks to mobile technology, you can use your walking time to reach out to friends or relatives. Catch up with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while or have your regular chats on the move.
Making the most of your one-to-one time by being free of household distractions could make you enjoy both the walk and your conversation more. You could even plan your route to pass a friend’s house and have them come out and join you… socially distanced of course.
If your friend has walking fitness goals, why not motivate each other. This will not only make your walk interesting, but it will add some accountability.
How To Make Walking Fun
Walking is fun for me, and hopefully, with some of these tips, it will be fun for you too. Walking is a great source of health benefits, maximize your chances of reaping all those benefits by knowing how to make walking fun.
Did you find this article helpful, maybe you already have a routine for supercharging your daily walks? Join the discussion in the comments below.