Connect with Us

Walking to Improve Your Health

Taking regular walks can boost your overall health.  Some of the benefits of walking include reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, improved management of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. You may be asking; how do I get a walking routine started?  My answer is that you need to establish the habit.

If you are not already walking regularly, start by using a calendar. For every day that you go for a walk, put a check mark or star on your calendar. Make it a goal not to break your streak. It may help to use a paper calendar and place it somewhere that you will see it every day. Once you have established the habit, then it is time to create a SMART goal.

I have talked about SMART goals in the past and I will review it here. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. You will want to be specific about your walking goal. Decide what you want to do with your walking. When your write your goal specifically, you should include the “what, when, where, and how” the behavior will be done. Do you want to walk daily? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to increase your speed of walking or your distance? For example, I will walk regularly in the morning to help me reduce inches around my waist.

Next you will want to make your goal measurable. The measurement for walking can be time, pace, or distance and you will need to have a method for keeping track of the measurement you set. You can do that by writing on your calendar or using a fitness app. One of the easiest ways to keep track of your goal is by wearing a fitness watch that tracks your time and distance and downloads the information to your phone.  A measurable goal includes “how much, how many, and/or how often” you will do the behavior. For example, I will walk 30 minutes a day at a brisk pace five days a week.

The next step is to make sure your walking goal is achievable. You will want to create a goal that can stretch you beyond your current ability but that you can still achieve. An achievable goal includes the steps you are taking to meet your goal. Remember you will want to set your gal low enough so that you can reach it but high enough to challenge you. For example, I will start walking 15 minutes a day for three days and work up to 30 minutes a day for five days.

It is also important that your goal is relevant. Ask yourself, can I really walk every day for 2 hours? Take a realistic look at your current responsibilities such as working a full-time job, taking the children to and from activities, and cooking dinner every night. You may need to modify your goal based on your current life situation and responsibilities.

Finally, your goal should be time-bound, a specific time frame in which you will achieve it. For example, I will increase my walking time by five minutes until I reach 30 minutes a day. I will add an extra day every two weeks until I reach 30 minutes for five days a week.

Setting SMART goals helps you to achieve the goal. Set yourself up for success by creating a SMART goal for better health and well-being.