I’m embarrassed to admit that I got lazy and a little out of shape. Throughout my life, I have gone from athlete to sedentary lifestyle and back. I do find that when I am consistent with physical activity that I do feel my best. Some of the reasons that I may stop my physical activity have included seizures, weather, and extra work. Getting back on track can seem difficult at first, but having a challenge can kick-start that journey.
I’ve been focused on getting more sunshine and natural light into my life as a way to combat depression, increase my vitamin D levels, and hopefully reverse my alopecia universalis. Last weekend, I went on a hike to the lovely Great Falls national park and realized I should combine my sunbathing with walking. Apparently, there are thirty day walking challenges for those of us who have neglected their physical activity!
What is the 30 Day Walking Challenge?
It is a commitment to getting active for 30 days in a row. The challenge for most people will be to fit a daily walk into their already busy schedule. Whether you are just starting out, or already have a walking routine, the 30 day walking challenge helps you increase your stamina and set a routine that you can live with.
For me, the 30 day walking challenge will be walking 5 miles per day for 30 days. I have been walking 10,000 steps for the last ten days. That equates to just above 4 miles per day. My challenge will be to fit a few more steps in and keep it consistent every single day!
How to Get Started with the Walking Challenge
This challenge is pretty simple. You just take a walk everyday. But if you really want to set yourself up for success, you may want to take these additional steps.
- Find a specific time each day that you can commit to walking.
- Set a goal for how long and how far you will walk. Keep in mind, if you are trying to fit in 5 miles, you will be walking for about 2 hours per day. The walking distance can be broken up into two or three shorter walks.
- Track your progress. Use your iphone as a step counter or purchase a FitBit to track your mileage. You can also just walk a path that you know the distance.
- Keep it fun. I have been listening to music and podcasts during my walk. It keeps me entertained and motivated to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
- Reward your consistency. Goals are fun, but goals that have rewards may keep you more motivated. Reward yourself with a night out or some new shoes. You could treat yourself to a Starbucks coffee or a drive in movie. Try not to let the reward be something that will derail your fitness goals!
Benefits of Walking
This walking challenge will do more for you than simply get you putting one foot in front of the other. You will notice incredible health benefits. You won’t believe how the simple act of taking a walk can improve your mood and overall health.
Below are some of the documented benefits of walking:
- Improved well-being.
- Increased joint health.
- Increased metabolism.
- Extra vitamin D from being out in the sunshine.
How to Walk
Poor posture can impact your overall health. If you are doing the walking challenge with bad posture, you won’t see all of the benefits that are possible. Stand up straight to ensure that you are breathing efficiently. As you walk, you may want to think about how you are moving.
- Neck: hold your head up and think about the distance between your ear lobes and shoulders. Your head should be balanced above your shoulders and not hunched forward. Holding your head up reduces the hunched posture that can come from sitting too long at a computer.
- Arms: Allow your arms to flow back and forth like a pendulum. Don’t force the movement.
- Hips: Keep your abdominals lifted in and up to strengthen the core.
- Feet: Allow your foot to have a nice, soft roll from the heel to the toes.
Go for a walk!
Now that you know how great walking can be for your health, set some walking goals and hop on this 30 day walking challenge with me! While I’m not overly optimistic that it will cure my baldness (hey, I’ve been working on doing that with a gazillion diets for the last 15 years), I know that my mood is much better with the increased step count. I’m loving getting out in the sunshine and taking walks at the crack of dawn. I do find that I am becoming more productive too!