11 Easy Ways to Make Walking More Fun
Lost your lust for hitting the pavement? Put the spring back in your step by making your daily walk a workout for the mind as well as the body.
How to make walking less boring
Whether you walk for recreation, physical fitness or simply as a means of getting from point A to point B, the health benefits are the same. Besides getting your heart pumping, walking can boost your mood and energy, while promoting a good night’s sleep. It’s a popular activity, as well, with just over half of Canadians aged 18 to 79 walking 7,500 steps a day, on average.
But as COVID-19 has made our world feel smaller, the routes we normally take on our walks can start feeling a bit, well… Boring. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to make this daily dose of physical activity more satisfying. The key is to make walking a workout for the mind and soul as well as for the body. The following tips are sure to add spring to your step.
Read the clouds
Learn the fundamentals of amateur meteorology, and you’ll never find your walk boring again! Keep your eyes on the skies: what can you tell from the clouds? Which way is the wind blowing? Is a front coming in? Just how accurate was the morning weather forecast, anyway?
(Did you know that walking for just 12 minutes can boost your mood?)
Take up birdwatching
Even if you tend to walk solo, chances are you’ll encounter some feathered friends along the route. Keep a checklist of the birds you see on your walk. How many different species can you identify, and how do their numbers change with the seasons?
(Here are some tips for walking outside during the pandemic.)
Become a local historian
Note the street names you pass on your walking route. Where do they come from? What’s the story of your neighbourhood, as told by the names of the streets, parks and other features you encounter?
Grab fresh grub
Why not shake up your usual route and walk to your local farmers’ market to pick up something fresh and tasty for dinner? If you don’t have a market within walking distance, make it a point to park a few blocks away from your favourite vendors so you’ll still get a good walk in. (Here are the healthiest vegetables you can get at the famers’ market.)
“Play” the real estate market
You don’t have to be house hunting to have fun speculating on real estate! The next time you encounter a “for sale” sign on your walk, guess the property’s asking price, then check the listing when you get back home. How close can you get?
Get your tech on
From wearable step counters to cool apps that help you stay motivated, the latest technology can be a fun way to spice up your walk. The free ParticipACTION app, for instance, is a handy fitness tracker that can record of all your steps and movement. Set daily, weekly and monthly step challenges for yourself, and use the app to gauge your progress. Also, you may want to check out the best walking workout for older people.
Strengthen a friendship
Invite a friend to join you on your walk—while physically distancing, of course. Not only will the conversation put some pep back in your step and help you beat loneliness, but bringing a friend along will also keep you committed to walking on a regular basis.
Engage the imagination
Studies repeatedly show that the more parents move, the more their kids move, too. The next time you’re walking with young ones, keep their minds as active as their legs by engaging them in a classic game like I-spy.
Plan a cool pitstop
What could be more motivating than an icy cool destination on a sweltering summer’s day? Plan a refreshing “cooling station” stop along your walking route, whether it’s the local (air-conditioned!) supermarket, a shaded park bench or a splash pad. (Also, make sure drink plenty of water and are aware of the signs of dehydration.)
Get reacquainted with your green thumb
You don’t need an exotic national park nearby to reconnect with nature. While on your daily walk, take time to soak in the beauty of your neighbours’ garden beds. What’s currently in bloom? What’s thriving, given your shared growing conditions? What inspiration can you find for your own yard? (Also, learn why gardening is so good for you.)
Adopt a furry friend
If you’re ready to take on the commitment of adding a fur baby to your family, the rewards can be enormous. Not only are there plenty of health benefits associated with owning a dog, it’ll also ensure you’ve got an enthusiastic walking companion for life.
Next, learn the proper walking posture to get the most out of your journey.