Walking is one of the best ways to move more. You don’t need special equipment to walk, just a comfortable pair of shoes. You’ve been practicing walking since you were a toddler, although a few pointers on form can always help. You can walk almost anywhere (even indoors!), although parks, greenways, and sidewalks are more enjoyable places to walk. But as much as we know the benefits of physical activity, most of us aren’t getting enough. So I’m challenging you to step it up and Walk-tober!
Set a goal to walk more for the rest of the month of October. Share your goal with us! Social support can help you stick with it.
If you aren’t currently walking, start with a short 10-15 minute walk 3 days this week. Add another day next week and another day the following week. By the end of the month, you’ll be walking 5 days a week and setting up a habit of moving more. Keep working on increasing how long you walk and you’ll be hitting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week by Thanksgiving! This post has more tips for starting a new physical activity routine.
If you already walk for fitness, challenge yourself to pick up the pace (intensity), distance or time you walk (duration), or add another walk or two during the week (frequency). Increasing these three factors – intensity, duration, frequency – are how your body get stronger and fitter. You may want to try adding some jogging or power walking intervals to increase the intensity to a more vigorous workout. Remember that vigorous intensity activity counts double towards your 150 weekly minute goal. You can also walk a little longer or often to increase the number of minutes you are active each week.
October is when we finally start to feel the fall temperatures in Virginia. And the weather will start to cool off as we head towards winter. But you can still be active outdoors. People living in Scandinavian countries (inside the Arctic Circle) have a useful saying, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” So if you’re chilly, add another layer, a hat, or some gloves and hit the trail!
Make Walk-tober a family affair. Bring your kids along so they can burn off some extra energy. Family walks are a great time for bonding and talking with each other. Modeling an active lifestyle helps them grow up to be active adults, too.
You can step it up indoors, too. If you don’t have a safe place to walk outside, you can still walk indoors. There’s a walking series we use in programs you can do in your own living room. If you prefer, you can try out some of our workout videos, too. I’ve been doing the 7 Minute HIIT workout recently as a quick workout at home after sitting so long at work during the day. Think about fun ways to move inside, like turning up your favorite music and dancing or walking up and down the stairs a few times to get your heart rate up.
Will you step it up with us and Walk-tober? Share your goal to walk more this month. Will you be bringing your family or visiting a local park or trail to walk?