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When my doctor told me as part of my recovery, I needed to walk 2 miles a day, I really thought it would be no problem. And the walking part really isn’t the problem. The problem for me lies in keeping my motivation. Once the fun of, “look at me go!” wears off, you can start to really to doubt yourself. You are not alone. I wanted to share what seems to be working for me and a few of my friends. Of course, none of us are health professionals, so be sure to talk with your own doctor before starting a program. But if you are already there and starting to have that sense of boredom kick in, hopefully some of the tips and tricks will help you stay motivated with a daily walking program.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR A DAILY WALKING PROGRAM
1. MIX IT UP.
You don’t want to eat the same thing over and over again right? So why walk the same exact path everyday? I vary my routes day to day and am so thankful I do. Even just going the opposite direction gives you something new to look at. If you are stuck doing the same route everyday, try to at least pick 1 or 2 days a week where you can drive somewhere else to walk. There are lots of suggestions online. Simply google your town name and “walking or running routes” and you’ll be surprised the suggestions that pop up. You might even discover a new nature area that you didn’t know about. If it’s an area you are unfamiliar with, take screenshots of the trail on your phone and bring a friend along. Remember your safety trumps boredom always.
2. PLAN AHEAD
It rains. It is smoking hot in Texas. The weather is never perfect. But review the weeks weather ahead of time, and the night before and plan accordingly. If it’s going to rain in the evening, try to get a morning walk in. If it will rain non-stop for days, try to get creative. In a pinch I have a treadmill, but the local mall is usually friendly to walkers. Invest in good gear. Don’t let the weather become an excuse to derail your best laid plans.
3. LOAD UP YOUR PLAYLIST
For me this is a “mental playlist”. I don’t listen to music, but rather my own thoughts. I usually follow a pattern of “things I need to do this week, today, tomorrow” and really hone in on parts I want to focus on. I mentally organize my calendar. I think about long term goals and projects and my to do list. Somehow actually thinking about it seems to relieve my stress a bit. If a great idea pops into my head, I’ll use voice to text to send myself a message so I don’t forget it. Some people prefer music. And I get that. Make sure you have your favorites loaded and ready to go. Thinking about audio books? Your library may provide them, so check there too.
4. SET A MINIMUM AND STICK WITH IT
My doctor initially told me 2 miles. What I discovered is that often times, I’m happier to go further. Once I’m out there, I might as well keep going. Find your minimum and stick with it. It might be as simple as, “Everyday I will walk around the block”. Chances are you’ll go further too. For me, having a minimum of every single day cuts out all excuses. As long as I meet it, I can stop. But I do it everyday. Some people can say 3-4 times a week, but knowing myself, I’d find an excuse for every day! Whatever you pick, stick with it. Once the routine is established, you’ll find it’s not that hard to stick with.
5. COMPETE WITH OTHERS
In all honesty, this is the tip I use the most to motivate myself. I have a group of friends that compete weekly with each other through our Fitbits. We really battle it out tooth and nail and push each other. It’s amazing how much this will make you want to go outside and gain some steps. There are other programs out there- everything from apps to Facebook accountability groups. Ask your friends and start a group if you have to.
6. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
There are days you’ll forget the health benefits, or all the good stuff that comes from walking. Days you just really would rather phone it in and watch Netflix instead. Keeping track of your progress reminds you of how far you’ve come. Literally. Seeing That I’ve already walked 121 miles since the beginning of the month makes me say, “WOW”. If you don’t keep track you miss these milestones. I keep my walks on a spreadsheet, an app (map my fitness) and on my fitbit.
7. TREAT YOURSELF
I set mini goals with simple treats. For me, it can be as simple as a new t-shirt or more complex like a new pair of tennis shoes after I’ve walked a certain amount of miles. On a daily basis though, I allow my treats to be a little self indulgent, while not making me feel guilty. I allow myself an Outshine fruit bar or an Outshine Simply Yogurt Bar after every walk as a fantastic way to cool off. Better yet, the Outshine Fruit Bars are made with real fruit or fruit juice and no GMO ingredients. The Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars are made from 100% yogurt and help me keep my daily healthy lifestyle goals. They are the perfect healthy snack option for those of us craving a sweet treat! I first fell in love with these frozen snacks back in 2000 when I was about 35 weeks pregnant. I might have ate my body weight in the lime fruit bars!!! Need help locating these tasty treats? Find your favorite Flavor and Store Locator HERE. Follow Outshine's Instagram for other tips & flavor ideas.
I’d love to hear what you do to keep yourself motivated! Do you battle it out with your fitbit friends? What’s your favorite healthy snack after a long walk? Learn more about Outshine Bars HERE