How to Build a Daily Walking Habit

Dec. 2, 2021

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Even as the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, you can still get outside for some exercise. Get started this winter with a daily walking habit that can help you live healthier and happier. 

Health experts recommend adults get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week. That equals 30 minutes per day over the course of five days. You can do this with a short walk around your neighborhood, at a local park or even around your office. 

Adults who move more, sit less and do any amount of physical activity see health benefits according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)*. 

Why walk? 

Walking is an easy activity that most people of any age can do. It is a free activity that can be done anywhere, even when it is cold. 

Some studies suggest a daily walk can promote weight management and sustained weight loss. Walking has a lower risk of injury than high-intensity exercises. Even people who are older can go for a short walk. 

Walking has also been shown to increase positive mood and creativity. Walking outside has the added benefit of increasing sun exposure, which can lift your mood. And research shows fresh air has numerous health benefits

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Start small 

If you don’t think you can fit a 30-minute walk into your day to start, take a few 10-minute breaks instead. Finding the balance that will work for you and help you keep the activity as part of your routine is best. 

Add it to your to-do list 

Everyone has a list of chores or things to do every day. Make your walking time part of that list. Adding it to the list helps prioritize it in your schedule, just like that grocery store run or trip to the mechanic. 

Early morning, lunchtime or sunset walk? 

Not sure if you have time for a 30-minute walk each day? Get up 10 minutes early and go for a short walk. Increase this time every morning until you can fit in the full 30 minutes. If you aren’t a morning person, go for a short sunset walk, but be sure to prepare for walking in the dark. Safety is important, so make sure you plan ahead.  

If you get a lunch break, take a short walk midday. You might find the weather to be better in the middle of the day. 

The key to building a habit is to make time in your schedule by finding the time that works for your lifestyle. 

Build up over time 

Each day or week, add more time, distance or effort into your walks. Jog for a block. Add on an extra quarter mile. Every minute counts. 

Make it fun

If you like to read, listen to music or enjoy a podcast, do that while you walk. If you want to catch up with a friend, do it over a walk instead of drinks. Take a walking meeting instead of sitting around a conference table. 

Find an interesting view

As you get more comfortable with walking and fitting it into your busy schedule, start looking for new routes to walk. Many towns and cities have public spaces that can be good for walking, like Riverfront Park in Columbia, Hampton Park in Charleston or Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville. Search for local walking tracks in your area. 

For more ideas on how to get outside this winter, read our blog


*The CDC is an independent organization that provides health information you might find helpful.

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