How do I walk more?
Tips that can help you walk more often and increase your step count include: going for short, quick strolls, having a walking meeting, walking with friends, exploring new areas and increasing the pace of your walk. You can also make your walks more entertaining by listening to a podcast or taking pictures as you go.
Top tips to help you do more walking
A poll by the UK walking charity Living Streets recently looked at what the public enjoyed most about walking and what encouraged them to do it. (1) Some of the things that came out top in this study were:
- The benefits to mental health that were experienced (56%)
- The benefits to physical health that people experienced (76%)
- Offered an opportunity to meet friends and family safely (36%)
- Offered an opportunity to discover new places (29%)
- Brought financial savings (21%).
If you are keen to reap these benefits and get walking more, just check out my tips below
1. Bring entertainment along on your walk
Keep your mind busy during a walk by taking along some form of entertainment, whether it is a podcast, some music or even a meditation track.
2. Take pictures as you go
Bring focus to your walk by taking pictures of any points of interest along the way. You could even theme each walk – perhaps focus on taking pictures of flowers and plants in spring, for example, or look out for interesting buildings in winter.
3. Connect with nature
Take binoculars on your walk to focus on the different sights on your walk and to look out for birds and other animals. Also, use the sounds and smells of the outdoors to explore the area more thoroughly – get down to plant level and see what the flowers smell like, for example!
4. Have a walking meeting
Next time your work arranges a big meeting via Zoom or Teams, ask if it's possible for you to walk as you listen in and contribute. You may even inspire others to get outside for their meetings by doing so! Another option is to ask a colleague to go for a walk when there is a particular issue that needs to be discussed.
5. Walk in short stints
Keeping each walk short makes the activity much more manageable and easier to fit into your routine. Do a 10-minute power walk in your tea break - it is guaranteed to make you return to work feeling refreshed and energised. Alternatively, just fit in a short walk at a time that suits you!
6. Meet up with other people
Get family, friends or colleagues together for a stroll if you haven't seen each other in a while. This way you can stay social and get active at the same time! Joining a walking club in your area is also a good way to become more active.
7. Explore new areas
Have a look at pages like Walk Highlands (Scotland) and Walking Britain (UK) for inspiration on new routes and places to walk in. You could bag your first Munro or take things more leisurely on a beach stroll. Whatever your aims, these kinds of websites will point you in the right direction.
8. Connect with others
Check-in on friends and family on your walk by having a walking telephone call. Voice notes are a good option when there's no one available at the time you are heading out. It can also be really good for our mood (and the mood of other people) to pass on a smile or greeting to the people you meet on your walk.
9. Quicken the pace of your walk
Make walking a little more of a challenge by speeding things up. Aim to finish your walk with your heart rate up, with faster breathing.
10. Arrange a scavenger hunt
For any youngsters and their friends, a scavenger hunt outdoors could be a good way to get everyone moving. This could be in the back garden or a local park.
11. Walk for little journeys
We've heard this one before, I am sure, but it doesn't harm to have a reminder! See if you can swap a drive to the supermarket and any other local visits for a walk.
12. Let someone else choose the route
Having someone else lead a walk may open up the possibility of exploring somewhere different on foot. They'll also be able to point out any points of interest on the walk to keep it entertaining.
13. Look out for unusual things
Stop every so often whilst out for a walk and see if you can find anything a little bit different. Snap pictures of these objects whilst you are out and see what the strangest thing you can come across is!
14. Do a litter pick
Litter pickers are easily available online. You could head out in your local area armed with one of these and a bin bag to collect any rubbish lying around. This is a great thing to do for the community, but also for the nature and environment where you live. If you can get others on board with this project, even better!
15. Post your walking pics online
Inspire others and find some motivation for getting out in the fresh air by posting pictures of your walks online. Perhaps you could even create an Instagram page solely for your walking images!
16. Keep note of your walks
When you go for a walk, record how long they are, where they took you, what you saw and how hard they were. Not only does this give you a back catalogue of walks to turn to in the future, but it can also be a nice record of what you have managed to achieve. You may even find that a walk seems easier when you return to it next time!
17. Run errands on your walk
Have you got leftover cakes or food you could drop at a friend's house? Perhaps there's a parcel that needs to be posted or the milk simply needs re-stocked. Try completing your to-do list whilst walking to stay productive and active.
18. Don’t be put off by the weather
Put on some waterproofs or pack a good umbrella and aim to get outside regardless of the weather. Walking in the rain offers a whole new experience of sights, sounds and smells!
19. Walk with a dog
Offer to walk a friend or neighbour's dog or join them for one of their daily dog walks. Borrow My Doggy is another way to get outside with a canine companion if you haven't got one of your own.
20. Get out in the garden
Re-pot some plants, dig up some weeds or rearrange some of the garden furniture. All of these garden activities will help you get your step count up.