Regular walking is indeed the best exercise and will give you a great quality of life. To maximize the benefits of regular walking, dedication is not enough — you also need motivation and a plan.
Dedication means you need to get out there every single day, as one study by the National Institutes of Health reports — that gives you the greatest health benefits.
Next, comes the plan. Of course, just walking will help you, no question. But, if you walk with a plan, that will really max out the health benefits of exercising. You should figure out the length, time, and type of walk that works for you, and stick to that plan. Consistency brings you to greatness, and you’ll feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
Below are several suggestions by fitness trainers on how you can formulate a regular walking plan that is best for you:
Regular Walking: Formulating Your Plan
Accept your limitations.
Don’t get discouraged. If you can only walk 15 minutes a day, just do it. Even if it means you have to break it up, instead of doing it in one chunk, it will still help you. Indeed, one study published in Diabetes Care found that people who walked on a treadmill for 15 minutes after meals regulated their blood sugar as well as those who walked continuously for 45 minutes.
Focus on yourself, not on someone else’s plan. Value and appreciate your body for what it can do — not what someone else is doing.
Make it enjoyable. Try walking in a beautiful location at least once a week. Studies show that nature walks offer health benefits that suburban or urban ones can’t. It will keep you motivated.
Bring a friend. Very important. Have a buddy go out with you, or create a local walking group to make your exercising more fun. You will have something to look forward to, even when the weather outside isn’t the greatest. Set goals for yourself and track it with your phone or a pedometer.
Don’t get discouraged. Sickness, injury, weather and aging can derail your routine even after it becomes a habit.
If you miss a walk, focus on making your next scheduled one happen on time. For example, lay out your exercise clothes and sneakers and set up the coffee to start brewing a little earlier the next morning.
Experts say that planning ahead will keep you motivated. Just pick it up the next day and you’re back on track.