"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Remodel your walking routine

Vary the style of walking in your routine to remain motivated and lively.

Putting one foot in front of the opposite is a simple strategy to trigger a cascade of health advantages. Regular brisk walking helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. control blood sugar; and reduces the chance of hypertension, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Brisk walking also strengthens muscles, burns calories and boosts mood.

Only one problem: Some people find walking boring. Boredom can reduce your motivation and interest in exercise. Before that happens, mix up your routine with quite a lot of walks that maximize physical, mental, and emotional health advantages.

Exercise-focused walking

While all brisk walking is sweet aerobic activity, you'll maximize the physical advantages for those who incorporate other exercises into your routine. Here are some options:

Strength training walks. At least twice every week, take a resistance band in your walk. “Work your chest, arm, or shoulder muscles by pulling the band in front of you or overhead, or loop it around your back and press it forward,” advises Stantin.

Sports walking

Some activities make running feel like a sport. Consider the next:

Nordic walking. Using Nordic poles (which have a special glove-like attachment) adds an upper-body workout to traditional walking, which doubles the muscle engagement and burns calories. You can walk on level surfaces or on different terrain, and you may (with a physician) if you may have trouble with balance, since the poles help keep you stable.

Hiking. “Hiking with or without poles will get you out of the house so you can enjoy nature. If you use hiking poles, they will help relieve stress on the joints.” Stantin notes.

Walking meditation

The repetitive nature of walking makes it a natural activity for meditation or self-reflection. Try considered one of these:

A breath-focused walk. The combination of respiration and stepping creates a rhythm that helps calm the mind. “Breathing and counting are key,” says Stanton. “Couple your steps with your inhales and exhales. Take four steps while inhaling, take four steps while exhaling. You can lengthen these counts when you rest.”

An imaginary walk. Use the walk as a chance to grow to be smarter. “Be really present in your walk. Pay attention to what's going on around you, and feel the wind and the sun on your body. Pay attention to what you're hearing—birds chirping, leaves rustling, ” suggests Stantin.

Walk-enhancing apps

Elevate your walk by pairing it with a free app to make your time more inspiring, educational, or interesting. Consider downloading considered one of these:

  • Charity mails (charitymiles.org). Raise money for various charities on the go.
  • Walk: Fitness Tracker and Game (thewalkgame.com). Hear a detective story that only reveals itself while you rack up the required miles.
  • A free podcast app. Listen to interesting interviews on the go, just like the Harvard Health Publishing podcast Living Better, Living Longer (/podcast-living-better-living-longer).

Note: Use just one earbud to take heed to podcasts while walking. Keep your other ear open for sounds in your environment that may provide you with a warning to danger, resembling approaching cars.

Social walking

Think of walking as a time for social interaction. Some possibilities:

A Gossip Walk. Instead of sitting and talking along with your family members, take a morning, afternoon or evening walk and chat. The more you walk and talk, the more exercise you'll fit into your day.

A heart to heart walk. If it’s essential have a troublesome conversation with someone, walking could make it easier. “Walking relaxes your body, and you don't have to make eye contact with the other person when you're walking,” says Stanton.

Note: Texting is a type of communication, but avoid texting while walking. Distractions could cause you to fall or prevent you from seeing oncoming traffic.

Photo: © Mix Media/Getty Images