- Cara Fielden
National Walking Month: Can we really make walking fun?
As you may know from following along with us here at Beingwell, May is National Walking Month. And as I sat down to write this blog, I pondered on the thought of how many people this really has meaning to, and if people really… well, care! Does the fact that it’s an awareness month make us want to walk more? Or will it just add pressure to us, inevitably ending up in us feeling bad because we feel we don’t walk enough, or we don’t enjoy walking? So, instead of talking about the benefits of walking or how much we should be walking, we thought - why not list all the ways we can make walking something we want to do?! Let’s jump right in.
Understandably, not all of us are keen walkers. And for some of us, walking might not be accessible for a number of reasons. If that is the case, why not try adapting these tips for whatever movement or exercise that is accessible to you? Walking doesn’t have to be something we do for an hour a day, or something we can only take part in if we reach 10,000 steps daily. Here’s some ways to start walking more without even realising, and that we can actually enjoy doing!
Now this may seem obvious, but when we’re out with our fluffy companions, it hardly feels like we’re walking sometimes! Playing fetch, running together or simply enjoying the loyal company is a great way to take the stress out of walking. Take a frisbee or a tennis ball and play some games with your pup pal and the time will absolutely fly by. You won’t even notice how much movement you’re getting in!
Make the destination your favourite place
The local coffee shop, a pretty viewpoint or your friend's apartment. Wherever you love to spend time, make that your walking destination. Or maybe if it’s not accessible by walking, take the bus and get off a stop early, or park your car a bit further away. A great chance to rack up the steps with something to look forward to!
A mindful walk
This doesn’t need to be as boring as it sounds. Pop your headphones in and focus on the sounds of your favourite track. Or maybe count how many times you see the colour yellow whilst you’re out walking. Give yourself a mini-mindful task like this and the walk you're on won’t be so boring. Being mindful of our senses (especially out in nature) can help us destress, calm any anxiety and boost our focus, productivity and mood!
Take your lunch
Grab your favourite sandwich from Pret, or maybe your homemade pasta salad and walk to the nearest park or green. It’s a good idea to switch things up, get outside and stretch our legs - especially if we’re sitting at a desk or in front of a screen all day. Why not grab some of your colleagues and make it something you do twice a week or every Friday?
Ok, hear us out on this one. Wherever you are when you’re walking - the high street, the train station or the supermarket - pick a random stranger who seems to be heading in your direction and mentally race them. See if you can beat them to the next road sign or the post office ahead. Stupid? Maybe. Fun? Definitely.
Listen to something
If you’re not into mindfulness (and no judgement if that’s you), then you can do the complete opposite to get those steps in - occupy yourself with a good podcast, your most-loved playlist or watching your favourite content creators on TikTok. Maybe you even catch up on your social media, just make sure you look where you’re going!
Don’t walk… skip
Again, bare with us on this one. Walking is fine and all that… but have you ever skipped somewhere? If you have, you’ll understand why we’ve included it And if the answer is no, you HAVE to try it. It’s quicker than walking, so you get places sooner, and we promise - it’ll fill you with serotonin! Think Phoebe Buffay’s running style: limbs flinging about as she speeds through the park. Once you get past what people think about you, you’ll have a whale of a time!
Final note: We hope this has encouraged you to not just roll your eyes when it comes to walking more, but actually note that there are hundreds of different ways to make things right for us. Not everything will work, we’re all different after all! What works for our neighbours, friends, family and colleagues won’t necessarily work for us. Trying out different things and ways of doing those things is super important for finding bits and bobs to help us live a little better each day.