In February, I decided to do a walk challenge. The challenge was pretty simple—to walk 30 miles in a month. I have been extremely dormant during COVID, and I haven’t gotten much better now that things are returning to normal. I had been taking walks on occasion, and I love when I take them, but I decided in February to challenge myself to be more consistent.
This is an extremely doable goal, but the key to me being successful was consistency.
And consistency is something I have struggled with.
This isn’t just total daily mileage on my fitness tracker which included my walks to the bathroom or the kitchen, but the time I set aside in my day to intentionally walk.
I’ll skip to the end and tell you that I achieved my goal and walked 30.49 miles in February. But in addition to achieving my goal, I also walked away with some lessons/outcomes.
Here’s what I walked away with:
The health benefits of walking every day are outstanding. A few benefits include: it increases blood circulation, lowers blood sugar levels, aids with digestion, cuts bad cholesterol, lowers risks of certain cancers, slows risk of alzheimers, and helps with weight loss.
There is time in my day to walk. I always felt like I just could not find the 30 minutes to walk (or do any exercise for that matter) but I have proved that, while there may be days that it is hard or not possible to squeeze it in, on most days there is time to walk.
A short walk is better than nothing. Even walking as little as 5 to 10 minutes outside has proven mental health benefits, such as boosting your mood, improving creative thinking, and reducing anxiety.
I prefer walking outdoors over the treadmill. One day I was out of town, and I just did not find time during the day to walk outdoors. But I was able to run down to the hotel gym for 20 minutes that night and walk on the treadmill. And after the first minute, I was completely over it. For some reason it just felt like a total struggle, whereas walking outside feels easier and less daunting.
Routine and planning were the keys to my success. Having a consistent daily routine of working, walking, and showering removed a lot of excuses. I may not have known the exact time each day that I would walk, but I knew it would be while the sun was out. I knew that it would likely be in the afternoon or evening. So, I planned to have my shower each day after my walk. Rinse and repeat for each workday.
Keep it un-fussy. I realize that nobody, and I mean nobody, cares what I wear, or really how I look. Getting caught up in what I was going to wear when I walked was an easy way to get stuck and do nothing. I threw on a coat and some sneakers and got outside. Sometimes I even had on pants that I normally only wear as pj’s. I may have taken an effort to match my outfits but that was about it. As long as I was warm and had pockets to carry what I needed, that was all that mattered. It is nice to have on a cute outfit and sometimes that can be very motivating, but it can also be a hindrance or a stumbling block, and I realized it just was not more important than my goal.
I finally understand that accountability matters. I always see people doing various challenges and they say that putting it on social media helps to keep them accountable. So, I did the same. I don’t have a ton of followers, and most probably really could care less about me and my challenge, but in my mind, there was something about putting my daily reports in my IG stories that made me feel like I had to accomplish my mission. And I wanted people to see that I set a goal and accomplished it. No matter how insignificant the goal may have been or how few people even paid attention.
Walking is a good way to explore the neighborhood. I actually moved a few months ago, and while I know the main roads of my area pretty well, I never explored any side streets or back roads. But walking was a good way to go a different way and see what my neighborhood has to offer.
I learned and entertained myself while I walked. I recently got into podcasts. Having a dedicated time in my day to listen to the podcasts that I enjoyed really made the time feel like it was “my” time. Learning something while I walked helped me to feel mentally enriched while also being physically active.
I breathe better. Lung issues run in my family, and honestly, I feel like I can catch my breath just a little bit better just from the simple act of taking a slow walk in the sun every day and letting my lungs do some work.
I am hoping this consistency sticks. I truly enjoyed the challenge, and I felt the benefits in doing it. I may not walk every single day, but I plan to walk most days.
If you want to see how the month went for me, here is a link to my Insta walk diary.
Have you done a walk challenge? Did you have any takeaways? I’d love to hear about it!