Habit forming: It’s never too late to add walking to your daily routine

Jaya Davis

Remember why you are walking. It is good for your health! Moving more and getting outside creates a healthier body and healthier mind. Once the 100 miles challenge ends in September, you need to think of those reasons why you are walking and stick with this new (or old) habit.

Why is it so hard to do things that are good for you? This happens a lot. You should go to the dentist because it is good for your teeth; you should eat more fruits and vegetables because they are good for your health; and you should wear sunscreen because it is good for your skin. All of these should, should, shoulds. Instead of thinking about walking, you should be walking. You should be moving more. Try and think about walking as part of your daily routine; it is something you should enjoy and want to keep doing. It is all about attitude when it comes to sticking with something and following through. Keep a positive attitude.

Maybe walking is something you’ve been doing for years. The value of staying active was ingrained in your mind as a younger person. Maybe your parents were role models as a child and you watched them be physically active. Or maybe you learned about the importance of play at school. Maybe this idea of moving more and getting physical activity is totally new to you. You never did much activity when you were younger, but now is the time to start. Walking is a great way to start. You can do it wherever and whenever it works in your schedule. You don’t need equipment, just some good shoes. You can explore your neighborhood, walk a dog, or check out that trail you always drive by.

My own appreciation for being active started when I was a little girl. My parents were avid walkers. They both walked and still continue to walk one hour every day, no matter what. When I was little, one parent would walk for an hour and then trade off parent duty. When we went on family trips, we would have to stop our road trip for the “hour walk.” My sister and I would be at the playground in some town and enjoy the swings and slides while my parents walked circles around the playground for an hour. If it was raining, my sister and I would shop at the mall while my parents did laps around the space. When traveling, we would get to the airport early so my parents could get a walk in. As we got older, my sister and I would join them in their walks sometimes. This consistent habit of walking an hour every day made an impact on me. My dad always said “live like there are only 23 hours in the day” because the other one hour is for walking. I was lucky to have had role models around me as a child to show me the benefits of being active and how it was a valuable part of living well.

If being active wasn’t necessarily something you valued before, it is not too late! Maybe you remember when you were little and you loved playing outside or being a part of a sports team or riding your bike. Harness those good memories of being active and try again. If walking isn’t something you like doing, think of another activity you can do to stay active. Do you like to bike? Swim? Use your exercise machine or do a workout video? Whatever it is you like to do to stay active, do that; even if it is only for a short time each day. It is never too late to get back into shape or be a healthier you. It has been said that it takes at least 18 days to form a habit. Be patient. Walking or some other form of exercise is the best habit you could ever have. Let it become part of your daily mindset.

Keep up the great work if you are part of the 100 miles in 100 days walking challenge! Only about 20 more miles to go. If you aren’t a part of this season’s challenge, watch for information on when the next challenge will start and get inspired.