Keeping up a regular walking schedule is all a question of following the 3Cs-
1. Commitment fires your enthusiasm, gets you on your feet, and keeps you motivated when the going gets tough. In the same way that exercise increases physical stamina, commitment builds mental stamina that gives you the strength to carry on
2. Consistency is all about regular habits – building a long term routine that is enjoyable and fun to do. You begin with small habits – walking to work or walking on a weekend – and you build them into big habits which become as automatic as cleaning your teeth or having a shower
3. Confirmation is a record of your commitment and consistency. Keeping a walking log or food diary and recording each day’s activities helps you measure your progress and it helps keep you motivated. It can help you plan your exercise and meals in advance. Scheduling your exercise and meals with clear objectives will ensure that you arrive at your goal – success!
A schedule will help you to avoid common excuses such as, ‘I haven’t got the time to exercise.’ Don’t forget that getting started is actually as simple as stepping outside for a walk around the block. Consider walking to your next appointment or breaking up your walking into shorter sessions – two 10 minute sessions. Even if you have a busy life, a little forward planning will help you slot workouts into your day. Experiment with the following time slots:
Walking in the Morning
If you’re an early bird, the morning may be the best time for you to go for a walk. Morning workouts energise you and give you space to plan the day ahead. If you would rather turn over in bed than face a ‘rise and shine workout’, then try putting the alarm on half an hour earlier. The early start may be more beneficial than the extra time in bed.
Walking in your Lunch Hour
Re-charge yourself for the afternoon. A brisk 30 minute walk will lift drooping energy levels and power your body for the rest of the day. Take a friend or friends – start a lunch time walking club. It doesn’t have to be every day – two 30 minute lunchtime walks each week will burn up to 400 calories, and combined with a light lunch, will help to keep you trim and fit.
Walk After Work
For many people this will be the most convenient time of day to walk. It can also be a time for more excuses – ‘I’m tired,’ ‘I’d rather have a drink with friends,’ and another hundred and one reasons for avoiding the effort. Yet, if you make the effort, you will soon discover that exercise gives you a ‘second wind’ and re-charges you for the evening. If you just want an easy way to relax away the day’s problems, then take a brisk 30 minute walk.
Walk while Commuting to Work
If it’s convenient, walk to work, at least a few days each week. If your workplace is too far, walk to the bus or train station or try getting off the bus or train one or two stops earlier on your way to work or returning home from work and walk the rest of the way. One of the best ways to stay motivated is to tie up with some friends and fellow commuters whose schedule matches yours.