Maintaining a regular exercise routine can be just as difficult as starting one. Veteran walkers and exercise specialists suggest following these tips for staying motivated:
- Treat your walking time as an appointment you make with yourself.
Remember that the consequences of missing that appointment may mean less independence in the future.
- Track your progress. Record improvements in time, distance,
and flexibility by measuring your progress on a weekly or monthly
basis. For example, if your goal is increased stamina, measure
how far you can walk in 30 minutes. You'll see the greatest improvement
during the first month, so track your progress on a weekly basis
at the start of your walking program.
- Include new but reachable goals to keep building your
fitness level. If your fitness level stays the same for an
extended period, add a new challenge. For example: "I can
walk along flat ground easily. I would like to be able to do a
hike up hills with my grandkids." So, your new goal may be
to include hills in your walking program (if your doctor has
said this is all right).
- Write down the reasons you decided walking is worthwhile.
Put these reasons at the top of your progress sheet and review
them as you record your progress. Update when necessary.
- Join a walking group. When other people are walking with
you, it can be easier to keep an exercise commitment. Walking
with others also gives you a chance to catch up with friends.
- Have alternative walking places in mind to use during
inclement weather. Walking inside a shopping mall or a
public building is better than walking outdoors in slick or
snowy conditions (a walking stick can be helpful in slick
conditions if you walk outside).
- Combine your interests with walking. Sign up for a
volunteer activity that includes walking, such as
leading tours at a museum.
- Look at your routine errands and select some that you could
walk to. Can you walk to the pharmacy or library instead of
driving? If you walk for those trips, you get the benefits of
exercise while shortening your To-Do list at the same time!