Building Walking Into Your Lifestyle – Guest post by Donna Connolly

walking

Last month, Donna Connolly from Retirement Reflections wrote a guest post for me Happiness Revisited.  Donna’s post was so well received that I asked her to write for my Health & Wellness Month and write about her passion for walking.

Donna writes….

Walking and Me:

I love walking! I’m known as a walker. I walk everywhere. Okay, not everywhere…but you get the idea!

Walking

On my site, I wrote a post about the benefits of walking (potentially preventing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, dementia, mental stress and depression). I have also documented my husband and my eight-day, two-hundred kilometer walk on the Camino Trail last year. This year, we will pick up where we left off (Najera) and continue walking the remaining six-hundred and fifty kilometers (approximately thirty days) to Santiago and then to Finisterre (Spain).

Walking

So, when Sue asked me to share a few health/fitness suggestions, I knew that I wanted to focus on walking.

Most anyone can walk. You just need to make up your mind to do so! If you want to incorporate ‘walking for fitness’ into your daily/weekly routine, here are some ideas.

Walking

Ten Tips for Building Walking into your Lifestyle:

  1. Commit the time and reprogram your mindset – It’s easy to think we’re too busy, or that we will begin ‘tomorrow’. Instead, take five minutes today…and ten minutes tomorrow. The important thing is to start!
  2. Swap out part of your routine – Going to your local coffee shop? Why not walk there? If it’s truly too far to walk, park five minutes away and walk the remaining distance. Next time, park ten minutes away. No excuses!
  3. Have the Right Stuff – Feet swell as you walk, so your shoes should not be too snug. Cushioning under the heel and forefoot is important, as is flexibility. Good hiking socks can help evaporate sweat and prevent blisters. A water bottle and sun protection are essential.
  4. Start Small – In exercise, it is easy to make the mistake of going too hard in the early days. This can cause injury, or prevent us from continuing. It’s better to start small and begin slowly. If you are new to walking for exercise, check with your doctor about what amount is right for you.
  5. Multi-Task – As mentioned above, if you walk to errands and events when you can (and you can more often than you think) you automatically build exercise into your day. Behind in your book club? Download an audiobook and listen while you walk…but ensure that you are paying attention in traffic!
  6. Create a Support System – Conversation with a friend can make the time spent walking pass by much more quickly. Conversation also helps remind you when you have pushed too hard and are becoming breathless. Make a walking plan with a friend, even fifteen minutes at the start or end of your day can make a difference.
  7. Build a Plan – Experts often recommend that a ‘walking for fitness’ program includes a minimum of five thirty-minute sessions or one-hundred and fifty minutes of walking per week. My advice is to start with what works for you. You can then build from there until you reach your ideal walking time.
  8. Track Your Progress – Use a simple system (small notebook or app) to record your progress. Tracking helps you to more clearly see the gains you’ve made…and where your gaps are. The less complicated your recording system is, the easier it will be to maintain.
  9. Use it or lose it – Unfortunately, as we age, our muscles begin to shrink and lose mass. Most rehabilitation experts agree that the more we keep active and moving, the better our bodies can resist aging too early. Remember, taking the time to warm up and cool down is important to prevent injury.
  10. Invest in yourself – Most of us believe that we never have enough time (even in retirement)! It is common to sacrifice our own needs to ‘catch up.’ But do you really want to cut corners with your health? Seeing it this way can help you rethink your commitments…and take steps that will provide long-term mind and body benefits!

Walking

Want to learn more? You can check out other sources on ‘walking for fitness’ at Source 1, Source 2, and Source 3.

Wishing you a great walk and good health!

Donna

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49 thoughts on “Building Walking Into Your Lifestyle – Guest post by Donna Connolly

  1. Terri Webster Schrandt

    This is a fabulous post, Donna! So full of great tips! And you mentioned “No excuses” which ends up being part of the title of my book I’m writing on fitness. Shared on my Windigen Consulting Facebook page 🙂

    Reply
    1. Donna

      Hi, Terri – Thank you for your steadfast support. Your generosity as a blogger is truly remarkable! I’m excited to hear that you are writing a book on fitness. I’m very interested in knowing more about that book…and ensuring that I can get a copy!

      Reply
  2. Natalie

    Donna: All great tips! i walk just about everywhere, too. I’ve also tried urban poling. I read on another blog/ post that you’re thinking of going to Machu Picchu some time. I went there last May and wrote about my trip on my blog. Yes, do go and see MP, just allow time to acclimatize to the high altitude.
    Sue: Wonderful to focus on health & wellness! I also read on another post that you’re planning to visit Spain in October. I’m going there in August as I’m coordinating the trip with a fixed date family event in Gibraltar. We can exchange travel stories 🙂

    Reply
    1. Donna

      Hi, Natalie – Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I’m impressed that you follow both Sue’s and Jill’s blogs. Great taste! I just had a quick visit to your blog and found that we have lots in common. Visiting forty different countries is no small feat! I too will be in Spain in August (Camino). I look forward to going back to your site to read more…especially about your experiences with Machu Picchu.

      Reply
    2. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Hi Natalie thanks for stopping by and I’m off to check out your blog! Yes we are off to Spain for the first time in October and then visiting my husband’s cousins who live in Italy. We are actually going to Gibraltar as well so yes we can exchange travel stories!

      Reply
    1. Donna

      Hi, Debbie – I agree! For such a simple activity, walking sure does pack in ample benefits. I’ve greatly enjoyed your recent travel posts!

      Reply
  3. Leanne | crestingthehill

    I’m not a huge fitness fanatic Donna, but walking is what works for me. I try to do 30 mins a day because it’s a great way to start my mornings and if I do it as soon as I get up then I don’t find excuses to put it off later in the day! I love that you’re doing more of the Camino Trail – you are an inspiration to the walkers amongst us!

    Reply
    1. Donna

      You’ve hit upon another great point about walking, Leanne. For those who are not inspired by gyms or ‘traditional exercise programs,’ walking can be easier to begin/maintain while providing similar benefits. I also like to walk first thing in the morning…before I get distracted by too many other things in my day!

      Reply
    1. Donna

      Hello, Jean – I am so glad that this post jumped out at you. I completely relate to good intentions amidst a gazillion distractions. If you would like to build more walking into your day, add an additional five minutes today and ten minutes tomorrow. You’ll be amazed where this can lead. If you do find you begin walking more, please post about it. I would love to read that!

      Reply
    2. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Good for you Jean and thanks for stopping by to comment! Hopefully, you feel inspired to start walking because I know you will feel wonderful and healthier once you start. So pleased you enjoyed Donna’s guest post and her Camino Walk sounds wonderful. I hope you visit again and have a beautiful day. xx

      Reply
  4. Carol ("Mimi")

    Great tips! I fall into the category of thinking I don’t have enough time, even though I’m retired. But, I want to do one of the walking trips in the Cotswolds of England in the fall. This is a timely article for me, as I need to establish a consistent walking program, now.

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      We can all fall into the ‘I don’t have time’ category Mimi but in reality we have 168 hours in a week so 30 minutes of walking at least 4-5 days per week is doable. The walking trip in the Cotswolds sounds fabulous it is such a beautiful area of England. Just do it! Plan it and start training. I’d love to hear about it when you do. Have a beautiful day and hope you are feeling better. xx

      Reply
    2. Donna

      Hi, Mimi – Thanks for mentioning the Cotswolds walking trips. I just did a quick on-line search, and they look truly fascinating. My husband and I are always looking for interesting walking/hiking trips, especially ones that are loaded with history. Cotswolds looks like a great trip to add to our wish list.
      I am glad that my article was timely for you. Remember, just start small with what is doable for your schedule. As soon as you start, it is much easier to build up from there. Good luck! And please keep us posted about your autumn trip!

      Reply
  5. Janis

    I love to walk too! I have a hour-long walk that starts at my front door and winds through our neighborhood. It’s not as pretty as the paths you show in your pictures, but it includes some views and a few hills (and it’s fun to watch the progress on a few house projects along the way). When my husband and I were in Oaxaca recently we walked everywhere. We were able to see so much more by walking than we could have in a car. And, best of all, I could eat all the wonderful food I wanted and still fit in my clothes! I’m looking forward to your tales about your Camino adventure!

    Reply
    1. Donna

      Hi, Janis – Thank you so much for commenting here. I love vacations, like your recent Oaxaca trip, where walking is the key transportation. You can see and experience so many more things, and make sudden stops along the way. And, as you point out, you can eat a few more local treats….guilt-free!
      The hour walk across your neighborhood sounds perfect. Hills, views, and local updates…that’s my kind of walk!

      Reply
    2. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Walking is a lovely way to discover your neighbourhood Janis plus you are keeping fit and healthy at the same time. I don’t know where Oaxaca is so I will need to look that up. Thanks so much for visiting and I’m pleased you enjoyed Donna’s post. Have a beautiful day. x

      Reply
  6. Dr Sock

    I have always loved to walk and hike, and made sure to include 150 minutes a week of walking, even when I was working 11 hour days in my previous job. Since breaking a bone in my foot in the Fall of 2015 and spending 4 months in a cast with crutches, I have appreciated the ability to walk even more. It has taken a long time to gradually build up the length of my walks again. The problem is not aerobics, but that my foot hurts if I walk too far. I know that I could not walk 22 km in a day, presently, so no Camino-type holidays for me!

    Jude

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      It is so frustrating when we get injured isn’t it? The secret is to not rush it and listen to your body. I’m sure you will soon be able to plan a Camino-type walk in the not too distant future. Thanks for visiting and I hope you visit again. have a beautiful day. x

      Reply
  7. Donna

    Hi, Jude – I’m greatly impressed that you regularly fit in 150+ minutes of walking per week, even with 11 hour work days! I’m sorry to hear of your recent foot injury. It is so easy to take for granted such simple tasks as walking. I love that your experiences have increased your gratitude. Your positive outlook is inspiring!
    BTW – You can travel the Camino by bike if you are ever interested. 😀

    Reply
  8. Sheila

    I like to participate in walking challenges as a way to keep myself motivated to walk daily, at least 7 miles a day.

    We love walking vacations and have walked the Cotswold and plan to do a hiking vacation in southern Oregon. No longer like to backpack so we choose walking/hiking tours where someone transports our bags.

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      I love challenges too Sheila and that is why I enter fun runs/walks. They give me something to work towards with my Saturday Sisters – my friends who I run with each week. Both the Cotswolds and Orgeon are beautiful areas. I did a walk through the Blue Mountains in NSW, Australia (I’m an Aussie) and it was a walking/hiking tour where we took a day pack and they transported our bags to our next night’s accommodation. It was beautiful scenery, quite challenging for me at the time and I had a beautiful spa bath to look forward to at the end of the day. Thanks for visiting Sheila and I hope you stop by again. Have a beautiful day.

      Reply
    2. Donna

      Hi, Sheila – I LOVE that there are so many different walking and hiking tour options. The ability to carry your own pack, or have your pack forwarded ahead, is another great option. I’d love to know more about the Southern Oregon hiking vacations. In terms of location, that could be a very doable trip for my husband and me!

      Reply
  9. Lexie

    Walking is such a simple, but important form of exercise! Anything that’s easy and keeps you moving is great.
    Thank you both for sharing. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment Lexie! Walking is a great way to keep fit and healthy, most people can do it and it is FREE! Have a lovely day and hope you visit again. x

      Reply
    2. Donna

      Hi, Lexie – I agree. Walking can be so simple that it is easy to overlook its endless health benefits.
      BTW – I just forwarded the link to your site to two of my daughter-in-laws. I think that they will find your posts very valuable.

      Reply
  10. Jill Weatherholt

    Fantastic post, Donna! Your tips are spot on, especially number nine. We’ve got to keep moving. I love to walk too. One of my favorite places to walk is along the beach. I can go for miles and miles. We enjoy walking at our local park as well.

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Thanks for visiting Jill and commenting on Donna’s post. We are all of the same mind which is great – keep moving to be fit, fabulous healthier and happier

      Reply
  11. Donna

    Hi, Jill – Tip #9 is so frustrating…and so real! It always seems to take so long to build up our fitness…and takes no time at all to lose it when we are inactive! I am fortunate to live near beachfront, forests and public parks so my walking opportunities offer much variety. Thanks so much for commenting here. I greatly appreciate it!

    Reply
  12. Liesbet

    Tip 11: get (ideally rescue) a dog! More motivation, desire and “need” to walk and while you are exercising without realizing it, you will meet new people much easier with a furry companion at your side. 🙂

    I hear you about the right shoes, Donna. I have been walking in my flip-flops here in Belgium (the weather has been so nice) for an hour or more at a time, and my feet were a bit sore afterwards (not during), despite the thick and cushy soles. Great post, once again!

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Hi Liesbet! Thanks for visiting and commenting on Donna’s informative post. Shoes are so important and unfortunately flip flops aren’t that supportive. I did try a brand from Australia which have a built in support called Archline. Although I wouldn’t recommend flip flops for serious walking these are just so comfortable. You can check them out here…..http://www.sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au/flip-flops-archline/
      Thank you so much for stopping by and have a beautiful day. Hope to see you again. xx

      Reply
    2. Donna

      Hi, Liesbet – I LOVE your Tip #11. That is such a great point! And for those who cannot own a dog, why not volunteer as a dog walker at your local animal shelter? Dog walking not only increases your physical fitness time, research increasingly shows that it also offers numerous other health benefits as well!

      Reply
  13. Joanne Sisco

    A great article, Donna. I particularly liked the part about investing in yourself. I think we’re all guilty of letting *stuff* creep into our life and feeling too busy for that time out.
    Walking helped me through my recovery last year with a broken collarbone. Walking was just about the only thing I could do besides sitting around. Because of it, I started to think of my solitary walks as a mental health break as much as a physical effort.

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Thanks for stopping by to comment Joanne on Donna’s excellent post. Walking is such a great way to keep fit and healthy and investing in ourselves is so important although sometimes it isn’t our priority. Have a great day!

      Reply
  14. Donna

    Hi, Joanne – As I am now so deeply immersed into following along your ‘Bold Plan’ walking/biking adventure, it is easy for me to forget about the injuries that you endured last year. You are an excellent model that even when we are restricted from doing many other physical activities, we can often walk (depending on the injuries, of course)! I wholeheartedly agree that walking can provide as much of a mental health break as it does physical exertion and exercise. Thanks for stopping by and sharing here, I greatly appreciate it.

    Reply
  15. Karen Hume

    Excellent post, as usual, Donna. I’m doing tons and tons of walking with rescue puppy, Shylah, and can certainly attest to the value of all ten recommendations!
    I’m envious of your upcoming long walk. I’m not at a point in my life where I can do that right now, but did get very excited a few years ago about walking the Camino de Santiago and read/watched everything I could find on the experience. I think the experience of a long walk is probably very different from daily walking, and I look forward to reading about it when you come home.

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Hi Karen, thanks so much for visiting and reading Donna’s excellent guest post. I’m looking forward to her posts about her Camino experience as well. Have a beautiful week and I hope you visit again.

      Reply
    2. Donna

      Thanks, Karen – I love reading you Shyla posts and hope that all is well. I will definitely post about my upcoming Camino experiences…I just need to figure out the best way to do that (without wifi and with minimal non-walking time in the day!) Stay tuned! 😀

      Reply
  16. Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle

    Thanks Sue and Donna, We use walking as our main form of exercise, so it is very encouraging to read about others finding the wonder of walking. We enjoy the fun and challenge of finding walking tracks, we call them our adventure outings. Even just walking around local streets we love all the beautiful things we see in gardens that we just don’t see when driving. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Kathleen
    Blogger’s Pit Stop

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      What a lovely way to spend time together Kathleen and I like your idea of a challenge to find walking tracks. Have a beautiful day and enjoy your walks. x

      Reply
  17. Pingback: Blogger's Pit Stop #79 - The Blogger's Lifestyle

  18. Barbara Radisavljevic

    I love walking, but no longer do it every day as I used to. Since I started having problems with my knees, I’m afraid to walk alone for fear of falling and so far I have no one to walk with. Walking on the treadmill at the gym just isn’t the same as being out in nature.

    Reply
    1. Sue Loncaric Post author

      Hi Barbara! Thanks for stopping by and I agree walking in nature is definitely much more amenable than the treadmill. What a shame you don’t have a walking buddy but I understand your fear of walking alone. Perhaps you can persuade one of your friends to swap a coffee catchup for a walk and then coffee? Have a beautiful weekend xx

      Reply

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