I know you have excuses for not taking a walk sometimes. I’m not here to beat you up about it, just to talk. It’s too cold out, you’re too tired, or it’s going to be raining all day.
Of course, there will be days when it just seems like it can’t work. But for the most part, the usual excuses don’t have to get in your way.
Before you go any further, let me also tell you one more thing. It is SO easy to fall into an all-or-nothing pattern of thinking with healthy choices. You are either all 100% in or you’ve completely fallen off track, no in-between. And I’m saying that’s not true at all.
Every single day we all start again. We have some habits that are stronger than others, but we all start every day from the beginning.
If you have to take a break for a day or two or even a week, do not – I repeat, DO NOT – beat yourself up for it. Understand why, consider when you’ll be able to get back on track, and do it. Keep it kind and keep it simple.
Or, maybe you can do something else healthy in the place of your walk like going to bed earlier, having a healthy snack, or doing some calming breathing. The point is that you are doing good things for your body.
Walking regularly is a great habit, but sometimes you have to take a break or put in a placeholder for a little while. When you take a break, just start again. Take a look at these handy solutions for the most common excuses.
Feeling Like You Don’t Have Your Schedule
Great news – you can divide your walk into smaller segments instead of doing 30 full minutes. Grab your dog leash and take your best four-legged buddy out for a quick 15 minute walk in the morning. After work, take another brisk 15 minute walk after supper. Or maybe it works better to do ten minutes before breakfast, ten minutes around lunch, and ten minute near supper time.
The point is that you do not have to do your walking workout all in one shot. This is an especially good plan if you aren’t used to walking or longer periods of time. A ten or fifteen minute stroll is a good length to get started with. It won’t take long and you’ll be able to go longer or faster.
Needing Alternative Routes for When You Can’t Go Out
Got a blizzard or rain storm outside? Walking for smaller chunks of time is easier to do while you run errands. Add a few complete trips around the perimeter of your favorite huge grocery, discount, or home improvement store. If you’re there anyway and have a good pair of shoes, you can avoid the nasty weather and get your minutes in.
It’s also handy to find a good walking route within your home. Utilize staircases and long hallways, make a point to circle the living room and dining room tables, and see if you can find a few creative ways to vary your route. I’ve had to this when my kids were babies and I couldn’t leave the house. Not something I did every day, but it’s nice when you need a convenient stay-at-home option.
Sore Muscles or Joint Pain
If you have severe or sharp pain, it’s probably a good idea to skip your walk. But if you are just a little sore and creaky from being active, you don’t have to get out of your routine. Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medication such as Aleve, Tylenol, or Advil. Or use a heating pad to warm up your sore joints for a few moments first.
You can also just reduce the intensity and the length of time for a few days. Try an easy five or ten minute walk earlier in the day and see how you feel. If you are OK, try another short stroll later in the evening.
Feeling Too Tired for a Walk
If you are pretty sick and are barely making it through the day, you definitely get a “skip” card. Trust me, fainting on the sidewalk won’t do anything to improve your health! But if you just have a stubborn head cold or some annoying allergies, you may actually feel better once you get your walk going.
The interesting thing about going on a walk is that it can often make you feel energized. Even if you’ve had a long week or a rough day, consider doing just half your normal amount. Make it more about relaxation and “me time” than getting in a vigorous workout. You might even feel inspired to do your full walk after you get going. The release of endorphins and increased blood flow will give you a natural energy boost.
Blah – You Just Aren’t Feeling It Today
Not in the mood? Yes, sometimes we just aren’t…for exercise, that is! The key here is that your exercise routine is just that, a routine. It’s what you do for your health. It’s what you do because it’s a commitment you’ve made. Do you go to work when you don’t feel like it? Sure. Do you run errands when you’d rather sit at home? Yes!
To avoid relying on your emotions, make it an appointment. Put it on your phone and let it pester you every day and don’t let the alarm snooze. Meet up with a friend some of the time. Heck, even just telling someone else you are starting to walk on a regular basis can be enough to keep you accountable. You’d rather honestly say you are still at it than risk sounding like you gave up. Treat it like other important commitments in your life and you’ll stick with it.
So…Get Up and Walk!
OK, you’ve seen all the great benefits of walking 30 minutes a day, and we’ve blown all your excuses out of the water, right? What are you waiting for? Lace up your tennies and get moving!