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Welcome to the Start TODAY Walking Challenge sponsored by Easy Spirit. Sign up for our free Start TODAY newsletter to join the challenge with Al Roker and receive daily inspiration sent to your inbox. Then, join us on the Start TODAY Facebook group for tips and motivation, to connect with others following the plan — and to get real-time advice from trainer Stephanie Mansour!
Getting motivated to go outside to walk can feel easy throughout the warmer months. Who doesn’t want to enjoy the fresh air on a sunny day? Unfortunately, as soon as the fall season hits, the nip in the air may change your willingness to get out there and go. As it gradually grows colder with each passing week, you may find it more and more challenging to get outside to reach your step and fitness goals.
That’s why I’m here to share the five best tips to keep up your walking habit during the year’s colder months. Having goals is important to you and your health, so don’t let the weather get in your way. These tips will encourage you to step out the door and be on your way!
5 tips to keep up your walking habit
Follow these five tips to keep up your walking habit during the year’s colder months. Each one is a tool to help you stay active!
1. Get competitive and challenge yourself
As a solo walker, getting your steps in can feel like a chore if you don’t have a strategy for making it enjoyable — especially during the colder months when you’d rather stay inside and skip the chill.
If you have a competitive spirit, sign up for a virtual walk or step challenge to compete against fellow walkers. Another option is an app like RunBet that makes walking into a game — switching up requirements for each week’s challenge by alternating rules of time, length, and frequency of each walk or run. This is a great option for ex-athletes or competitive walkers!
If you don’t want to deal with an app, you can still find ways to make your walks into a group challenge! The Start TODAY Facebook Group is a great place to connect with other walkers who are also looking for new ways to stay motivated. You can challenge other members to match your steps or ask for an accountability buddy there. You might even make a new friend — or worthy competitor.
2. Gear up appropriately
For me, what I wear matters. By that I mean that if I feel comfortable with what I’m wearing, my motivation — and even the speed of my workout — increases. That small boost is excellent for starting a walk or workout with zeal rather than feeling like there’s a storm cloud over my head. I like to layer so that I can take off jackets or sweatshirts as I heat up outside. If I can’t warm up fast enough, I’m more likely to cut my walk short! Layering up is essential to my comfort and stamina.
So, wear that extra long-sleeved shirt you love, bring those ear warmers, and slide on that cute beanie. Dressing for warmth and comfort can make it a lot more appealing to transition to walking in the colder temperatures — and less of freezing torture.
3. Lace up the right shoes
We’ve all suffered toe-tingling numbness from not wearing thick-enough socks or proper footwear. There’s really nothing worse than getting cold feet on a walk!
The best way to avoid frigid feet is by investing in footwear designed to keep your feet warm and dry. Water-resistant shoes protect your feet from rain, snow, or puddles.
Ideally, the right shoes to keep your feet warm and protected will have a sole that offers adequate traction — to prevent slipping on ice or slippery roads — and water-resistant material. Look for ankle-high styles to prevent water from seeping in.
It’s important to note that most traditional sports shoes are designed to allow air to enter to cool your feet. This is ideal for hot temperatures in the summer, but not for colder temperatures in the winter.
4. Listen to a podcast
A great distraction to refocus your attention, bring your headphones with you next time you go on a walk. Set up your phone to listen to your favorite music playlist, podcast, or audiobook to engage your mind and keep you distracted from how cold it is!
Try challenging yourself by only allowing yourself to listen to your favorite podcast, music, or audiobook during your walks. Knowing that you get to listen to something you love can be just the push start you need to remain active in the colder months.
5. Head indoors
When the weather is just too cold to bother walking outdoors, don’t forget there are indoor alternatives.
If you have a gym membership, many gyms have treadmills that can be used safely indoors where it’s less frigid. Investing in your own treadmill can be another great way to keep up your walks when the colder months of the year make it difficult to walk outside. Or an even cheaper option? Walk around your house in circles or walk in place!
There are also a ton of indoor spaces that are free and great to walk in. Why not take your walk in a shopping mall? Then you’ll have a plethora of ways to treat yourself for hitting your goals! Just be sure your window shopping doesn’t slow down your pace.