You’ve no doubt heard the numerous benefits of exercise; regular activity will protect you from various diseases, leads to improved mood, and lowers weight (and your risk of weight -related problems). For most of us, but especially those over 60, a simple daily walk is enough to offer significant benefits. But how do you get motivated?
First, remember that research on habit forming shows that it takes about 65 days to create a new routine. If you can make a daily walk a regular part of your schedule for the next two months, the habit will likely stick. But other than relying upon sheer willpower, how do you accomplish that goal?
Invite a friend. Everything is more fun when you invite a friend along for the outing, and chatting during your walk will make the time go by faster. It’s safer, too.
Don’t compete. If 15 minutes is all you can manage at first, then it’s still 15 minutes more than you’ve been doing. Don’t worry if you’re not exactly ready for a 5k. You’re doing this for your health, not to compete in the Olympics!
Choose an enjoyable location. Walking in a beautiful park, an impressive neighborhood, the beach, or some other favorite location will make exercise more fun. And of course, we’re more likely to stick with activities we enjoy.
Change it up. We’re also more likely to stick with an activity that doesn’t bore us, so keep that in mind. Change up your walking route frequently to ward of the staleness that can sometimes accompany daily routines.
Get it over with. Take your walk first thing in the morning, when you’re feeling most motivated. The feeling of accomplishment will inspire you throughout the day.
Choose the right shoes. If your feet hurt after walking, your shoes might not fit well. Go shopping at a full-service shoe store where an associate can help you select the right footwear for your needs. Your feet with thank you!
Always exercise caution when heading outdoors. Don’t walk in remote places alone, and keep weather, traffic, and other dangers in mind. See your doctor if you need assurance that walking is the right exercise for your health status.