June 22, 2020
Mapping Your Path to Move
Michael Bramlish, MPH CHES, OSU Health Plan Health Coach

Are you wanting to get more active but don’t know where to begin? Walking can be a great activity to build into your schedule. Walking can help burn calories, improve cardiovascular fitness, relieve stress, and is relatively safe for all people. Consider the following tips to create a walking program just for you. Before starting any exercise routine, check with your physician to make sure it is appropriate for you.

Define your purpose: Are you walking for better health, reducing stress, losing weight, or training for a specific event like a 5k? Determining your goal can help you to decide how often you want to walk.

Start small: Going out too fast, too soon can increase your likelihood of injury. If it’s been awhile since you have been consistent with walking, try starting out one or two days a week and slowly build from there each week.

Plan your walks: Life can often go by quickly. You may have a goal of walking more, but the next thing you know, life got busy and it is the end of the week. Try writing out your plan to increase your chance of sticking with it. Start thinking about where you are going to walk, what days are best for you to walk, and how long you want to walk. The more specific that you are making your plan, the more likely you are to reach you goals.

Break it up: The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity per week (30min per day). Not everyone has 30 consecutive minutes to be active. Breaking it up into segments can help you get activity in. Try breaking the walks into two 15-minute or three 10-minute segments.

Wear proper walking shoes: Walking in old or worn-out shoes is one of the most common causes of injuries. Visit a local running store that can help you to select the right shoe for your particular foot and your goals.

Change it up: Walking in the same neighborhood can get boring. Try finding a new location to stay interested and challenge yourself with new terrain.

Increase your accountability: Sometimes walking alone can become monotonous. Walking with a coworker or family member can help keep you motivated and make the time go faster. Don’t have a walking partner close? Use your walks to catch up with friends and family over the phone while you exercise. This can be a great way to stay connected while staying active.

photo credit: istockphoto