How to Map Out the Location of Your Walking Regimen
Finding a place to walk isn't difficult, but you do want to plan ahead. If you have areas near your home where you can walk, these can be convenient. And studies have shown that the more convenient and more accessible a walking area is, the more likely it will be that you'll stick with a walking program.
This means that if you can, you should seek to find an area that you can access right out of your front door. If you live in a suburban neighborhood, you'll likely have sidewalks or walking trails where you can plan your course.
You can measure off the distance that you walk by driving your car the length of your route. Or you can figure it up by using a pedometer. Taking around 2,000 steps equals one mile.
Walking outdoors in your neighborhood can be a great way to get involved with people who are also walking in the area. Plus, it's a good way to meet and get to know the people in your neighborhood.
You might even be able to find a walking partner this way if you want one. Statistics show that a person who lives in a neighborhood that has walking areas gets more exercise, more fresh air and loses an average of 10 pounds more than people who live in neighborhoods without walking areas.
There are sites online that will give a neighborhood a score based on how walkable the area is. Some neighborhoods are more walker friendly than others. You can tell if your neighborhood is good to walk in by seeing if it meets the following criteria:
First, there should be plenty of room to walk. The areas or sidewalks should be wide and roomy enough so that two people can pass side by side when approaching from opposite sides.
The sidewalks or walking areas should be smooth and free of trash and other debris.
There should be well marked lines if you have to cross the street. If you have to go across a road that's busy with a steady flow of traffic, there should be designated crosswalks, stop signs or pedestrian signals.
Walking safely should be a priority - and if you have to take risks to walk in your neighborhood, then it's better to find another designated walk area.
Walking trails and sidewalks are considered to be one of the safer ways to walk outdoors. But, even if you live in a more rural area, you can still find a decent place to walk not far from your home.
As long as you walk with the traffic, you can walk along the side of the roads. But if you're in an area that's fairly isolated, you might want to walk with a partner for safety reasons.
You also want to make sure that you're visible if you're walking during the twilight or evening hours. Some people choose to incorporate their walking program with the time they spend making sure their dogs get adequate exercise.
So tying the two of these together would also be a great motivator to stick with a program. Not everyone lives in a neighborhood that's walker friendly, but that doesn't mean that you still can't meet your walking goals.
In most of the states, there are what's known as walking hot spots. These are places that are well known that many people choose to use to keep up their walking program.
You may not be aware of them, but they're easy to find. For a designated local hot spot for walking in your area, you can do a search online to see the ones that are near you.
These walking areas are broken down by states where they're found as well as whether the path is easy or difficult. This is a good way to keep up your walking if you go on vacation, too.
You can look in advance for walking areas in the state that you're going to be traveling to. By searching online, you'll also find walking clubs and an online walking tracker so that you can view your progress at a glance.
You want to find an area that you enjoy walking in and it can help if you're just starting a walking program if you have some support for what you want to do. There are walking chapters in various states and some have several.
You can go online, type in the state that you live in and search for "walking chapters." Not only will you get several choices in some cases, but you'll also find guidance on how to start one if there's not one in your area but you'd like there to be.
There are walking clubs for many different interests and compatibility levels. You can find walking clubs for seniors or ones for men or women. You'll find clubs for young moms that meet when the kids are in school.
You'll find ones that meet with families that have young children and parents bring a stroller along o the walks. You'll find walking clubs where pets are also part of the walking program.
Whatever your interests are, you're sure to find a walking club that's a match for you. You can also find walking events that promote walking in conjunction with a good cause - such as raising awareness for a health issue or for a non-profit organization.
Some of these event attendees meet on a regular basis to walk. If there's an association that promotes awareness about a disease, you can check with those for walking programs as well.
For example, if you check with the American Diabetes Association, you'll see that they offer some helpful tips about walking and walking programs. You can join a team of walkers or start a team.
There are events that are kid friendly walking programs that are held to promote families walking together. You can find these listed on your community's website page or by contacting your local community center.
Promoting walking programs and using specifically designated areas is something that many hospitals support. You can find these by searching through their health and wellness programs.
Some schools also have community involved events where walking programs are offered as a way to encourage students to be healthier. You'll find these in schools from elementary all the way to college level.
There are some corporations that offer walking programs under workplace wellness programs or employee wellness programs. Many of these corporations also offer discounted group membership if employees who are part of the walking program also want to join a weight loss program as a group.
There are medical insurance companies that reward members who take part in walking programs and other healthy activities by offering them lowered premiums.
A few companies offer extra perks like points that can be earned toward gift card redemption. Walking outdoors alone, with a partner, or as part of a group, can be fun - a way to get healthier and to lose any extra pounds you want to take off.
But unfortunately, the weather doesn't always like to play along. While walking in a light drizzle might not be too bad, when it's a torrential downpour outside, walking can be pretty miserable and it can be easy to let the motivation slide.
Especially if you encounter several days where the weather is just too bad to be out walking in it. For that reason, you need to have a backup plan. By having a backup plan, you can keep your motivation strong.
It's easier to break a habit than it is to keep it up. By having a contingency plan, you won't lose the steam you've already built up. One of the great ways that you can get your steps in if the weather won't allow you to do it walking outdoors is by walking indoors at your local shopping mall.
Most malls will allow walkers to use their space specifically for walking. There are several walking groups that have permission to walk in malls all across America. If that sounds like something that you'd like, you can call the local mall in your area and ask about it.
If you don't want to go walking at the mall alone, you can do a search for mall walkers in your area and you'll find groups that you can meet up with. Plus, you can develop some lasting friendships while you're sticking with your walking program.
Sometimes the days just won't line up for you to make it out to the mall or any other place where you would normally walk. You may not feel like getting out of the house that day.
Or maybe going out to the mall to walk when the weather is bad is just not something that you enjoy doing. Sometimes the weather just isn't safe to be out and about in - like if the roads are icy.
You won't want to risk falling and injuring yourself or having your vehicle slide on a patch of ice to get anywhere. For that reason, you want to make sure that you have a way to get your walking in at home so that you can continue to reach your walking program goals.
With that in mind, you'll want to use a treadmill. If you don't have one yet, you can find a variety of great treadmills for reasonable costs and many of these will fold up out of the way for maximum space saving perks.
One of the biggest reasons that people don't really like to use a treadmill as part of a walking routine is that using a treadmill doesn't off the same sense of stimulation that being outdoors offers.
It also doesn't give a person the same sensory stimulation as walking at the mall. The best way to use a treadmill is by not walking on it for a continual amount of time.
It's best to use a treadmill if you break up the time you're walking on it. You can create intervals that give you the same amount of benefit that you'd find by continual walking outdoors.
If you normally walk for half an hour each time you go out, you'll want to divide your treadmill time by three 10 minute walks or six 5 minute walks. You need to make sure that you keep your motivation up.
So what you can do is to give yourself a mini goal. Aim for to cover a certain amount of distance in your first time on the treadmill. When you get back on after the first interval, push yourself to beat your first time.
By giving yourself different kinds of mini challenges, you'll stave off boredom and keep yourself motivated. You can also change the incline of the treadmill so that you're walking at an uphill angle.
Some people will use a treadmill for their walking program and walk while watching a nature video. These are videos that mimic a walk outside. You can find ones that show a walk through a forest.
On the video, you'll see blue skies, thick trees and even hear birds chirping along as you walk. Or, you can find videos that will mimic taking a walk along a tropical road by the water.
In the video, you'll see palm trees waving and hear the breeze blowing gently. Using a nature video while walking on a treadmill is a good way to keep you from feeling like you're cooped up inside.
When you're just starting out with something, it can seem like it's a lot of fun and excitement. But when you fall into a rut of doing the same thing at the same time every week, eventually, the fun level will diminish.
Regardless of your favorite location for your walking program, it's always best to have as many choices as possible. This is one of the best ways that you can make sure that you don't encounter boredom.
Getting bored when it comes to any kind of exercise, low intensity, moderate, or high activity is something that's normal. Everyone will experience some form of boredom at one point or another.
However, boredom is one of the biggest drawbacks to sticking with any kind of walking program. When something becomes boring, it seems like getting it done is more of a chore.
If this starts with you, then you'll discover that you dread even thinking about walking and you'll find yourself starting to look for excuses to avoid it. Even doing things around the house that you hate to do will look good in comparison.
Keeping boredom at bay is one of your best offenses when it comes to sticking with a walking program because no matter how young or old you are, being bored is no fun.
There is a solution, though. If you switch up how you walk, then you end up with something new to look forward to. If you're walking in your neighborhood, what you can do is branch out and move to walking in nearby neighborhoods.
That way, you're adding steps to your daily count, seeing new sites and meeting new people on your way. When the weather's bad, if you're someone who likes to walk at the mall, you can check out a different mall but still within driving distance.
Seeing new stores with new displays can help beat boredom. You can also change up the style in which you walk. You can add a brisker pace, move your arms differently and more.
Having someone walk with you can also help beat boredom. Conversations can enrich a walk and it's always different each time that you do it. If you're walking as part of a group or organization, you can schedule to walk with different people from the group.
You might even try a walking DVD where you march in place and get inspired by the person leading the exercise. There's never a reason why walking can't be relaxing and fun.
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