It probably won’t be a surprise to most of you that the number one barrier to walking daily is our “psychological resistance to walking.” According to America Walks’ 2011 National Walking Survey this is true even when people are exposed to information about the many health benefits of walking. Although there were many reasons given for why people didn’t walk, such as lack of time and energy, the study recommends that learning how to “integrate walking into our schedules” is a key to not thinking of walking as a “disruption in our lives.” From our experience Camera Walking is one way to integrate exercise into our daily activities, and it is enjoyable.
Moving from an “infrequent walker” to a daily walker takes commitment, a plan and daily focus. It can happen…we know because we have been there. Here are some of our tips to help you get out walking, Camera Walking, so that you can reap the many health and creative benefits.
- Decide what’s in it for you to start walking. Do you want to be more fit, lose weight, maintain health, experience the outdoors, clear your head, or expand your creativity? Examine your own personal resistance to walking. Do you think that it is boring, do you not have the energy to walk, or is it that you have created a routine that doesn’t include walking? The America Walks’ survey noted that most people were motivated to walk to “maintain their health.” This desire helped them overcome their resistance. That certainly was true for both of us. So decide what’s in it for you. Make a decision that your health and you matter.
- Commit to 30 days. Generally it takes 30 days make a habit automatic. The first couple of days and weeks can be tough, so put walking on your calendar and treat it as an appointment with yourself. Carol has been walking regularly for three years and she stills puts it on her calendar everyday as a reminder!
- Do it Daily. If you are new to walking regularly start in small segments – walk for 10-15 minutes each day for a week and build from there. Regardless if you feel great or not after the first few steps, commit to walking for 10 minutes. During this first 10 minutes start looking for photo opportunities. This will distract you and will help change your perception of the walk from “exercise” to “exploration.” Distracting yourself from how your feel at first can keep you going. It does for us.
- Note how you feel during your walk and afterwards. Pay attention to how a walk influences your feelings and energy. If you do it may predict how you long you will stick to the habit according to a study by Brown University. Learning to look forward to your walk will help get you out the door.
- Be consistent. Most people tend to have certain times in the day that are better for walking. If it is morning, set the alarm and put your shoes and clothes by the bed as a reminder. If you prefer evening, resist the urge to sit down to relax when you get home. Have your shoes and camera visible and ready to go. Walking during your lunch hour is a great way to get start, so have your gear available for quick access.
- Reflect on your walk. When you are done congratulate yourself! Research has found that when people think about how good they feel after their walk they are more likely to continue it in the future.
- Look at the photos you took and share them with your friends and family. This is what makes Camera Walking so much fun. Not only are you exploring for interesting things to capture in your photos, you can share them and get kudos for walking and for your creativity.
So take the plunge. Grab your camera and get out Camera Walking. Tell us about the tips that help you get out walking on a regular basis. We would love to hear from you!