7 Powerful Ways to Make Walking More Exciting

WalkingThis is guest post from Kevin Geary. Kevin is the founder of Rebooted Body, host of The Rebooted Body Podcast, and creator of the Total Body Reboot online program. He uses a unique blend of ancestral science and modern psychology to help men and women reprogram their body and mind for sustainable fat loss, vibrant health, and peak performance. Enter Kevin…

Walking is the number one underrated activity for health and fat loss. But, it’s time consuming and it often lacks excitement, which are the main objections I hear. Until now.

Look, I’ve made these same objections myself. Some days I love walking and some days I can think of better things to do. Sometimes I have a lot of time and sometimes I’m pressed for time.

But it’s something that has to be done. You’re a human being. You have to move. Sitting is killing you and going to the gym a few times a week isn’t going to change that.

What I’ve done is come up with some techniques for spicing up the activity of walking, which will help you want to fit it in. I also give some tips for fitting walking into your busy schedule.

This isn’t a list of shallow suggestions like, “listen to podcasts” or “take your dog.” It’s a list of ways to be more engaged and excited about the activity itself and to create a deeper connection with your primal nature.

1. Breath Walking

Breath Walking

This is a mental exercise as much as it’s a physical one. It also happens to be the number one way to ensure you’re completely present on your walks.

It’s simple: breathe only through your nose for the entire walk. Don’t open your mouth. If you need to slow down at any point, do so, but keep breathing through your nose.

If you hate meditating or think meditating is woo-woo stuff, then just do this exercise on your walks and you’ll get many of the same benefits.

I wouldn’t recommend that you do this on ALL your walks, but it’s a great exercise to employ from time to time.

2. Exploration Walking

Exploration Walking

If you walk the same path every day, it’s no wonder you’re bored. If you walk on concrete every time, same thing.

When you walk the same path day in and day out, your mind wanders. You’re just going through the motions. It’s a small fraction of what it could be.

Walking used to be about traveling. You’d walk to new places, see new things, and explore. Often, you’d be scavenging for food or water.

Adopt that mindset! Reconnect with your primal nature. Don’t set out with a distance or a plan. Don’t set out to follow a “course.”

Start on your normal path and then take a random detour. Be willing to get lost. Be willing to get wet. Be willing to walk through fields and forests.

When you’re exploring, all five senses are honed in on the land in front of you. Cherish that, it doesn’t happen often these days.

When I walk with my daughter, I notice she stops often and engages with stuff. She’ll pick stuff up, look at it, smell it. She’s two — and 200% present. Reconnect with that part of your humanity. Be okay with slowing down, stopping, and taking the time.

Bonus points if you can forage for wild foods. It’s not easy. Research online for how to identify them, collect them, and prepare them.

3. Agility Walking

Agility Walking

You’re going to need to channel your inner child for this one.

I’m not a fan of running — the monotonous, pounding activity that so many people love to destroy their bodies with. But, that’s not to say that you can’t run, ever.

Agility walking is the most dynamic form of walking that I’ve come up with. It’s a mix of walking, strategic running, leaping, climbing, and sometimes crawling. It also perfectly compliments exploration.

Here’s how it works: If the landscape is flat or downhill, then walk. If it grades uphill, then jog. Mix in the exploratory nature (veer off course) and start tackling obstacles. Don’t walk around the downed tree, leap over it. Fence in the way? Don’t find your way around, climb it.

You can do this in a forest or an urban jungle. My last agility walk took me through a park where I hit the monkey bars, slid down a slide, climbed the fence to the baseball field, sprinted across the field, climbed the other fence, and then went back to walking.

There’s no recipe. It’s all about making the trip as dynamic as possible and incorporating as many movements as you can into the activity.

You can do this whether you’re 20 or 80, just tailor it to your individual abilities. Yes, it still counts as walking because you end up walking for a majority of the time. But it’s a hell of a lot more fun.

4. Travel Walking

Travel Walking

Oh my God, I’ve got this great idea!

What? What is it?

We could actually walk to our destination!

I was in Austin, Texas for the PaleoFX conference recently and an odd question kept coming up. When we were heading out for lunch or to after-conference meet-ups, the question was, “should we drive or walk?”

You wouldn’t think that conversation would come up at a Paleo conference, but alas, it happened often.

Sad, I know.

So, I chimed in as quickly as possible: walk!

Homo Sapien Domestico Fragilus — as my friend Daniel Vitalis refers to our modern subspecies — is always so quick to make things more convenient and less physically demanding. How often have you had the same conversation?

If your destination is within 5 miles and you’re not pressed for time, then walk! Cherish the fact that you don’t have to walk in a circle today just to escape the doom of your convenient lifestyle. You have somewhere to go — that’s exciting!

My footprints are ALL OVER Austin. And I’m better off for it. And I got to see more of the city than I would have if we had taken a car everywhere.

5. Vary the Time of Day & Conditions

Variable Walking Conditions

Want a quick way to know if you belong to the fragile, domesticated version of Homo Sapien that I mentioned earlier?

Think about the time of day you tend to walk. In the Summer, early morning or early evening when the sun is low in the sky to “beat the heat?” In the Winter, mid-day when it’s warmest? Always when it’s bright, because the darkness is dangerous? Always when it’s dry, because you might melt if it’s raining?

You’re infected with the domestication virus. Sorry.

The good news is that it’s curable. Varying the time of day you walk and the conditions you walk in are the antidotes to your fragility.

Walk when it’s cold. Walk when it’s hot. Walk when it’s dark. Walk when the sun is rising or setting. Walk when it’s raining.

Experience the variability. Life shouldn’t always be a steady 70 degrees. Live a little.

6. Walk Barefoot

Barefoot Walking

If you’re walking in barefoot shoes or minimalist shoes, you’re doing pretty well. But I want to challenge you to take it a step further.

It doesn’t matter if you’re walking on concrete or planning on heading off the beaten path, barefoot is the way to go. Even if you only go full barefoot once in a while, it’s a step up in your walking game.

There’s nothing like feeling the Earth — putting the nerves in the bottom of your feet against the soil is as primal as it gets.

Sure, it’s more dangerous. You could get cuts and scrapes. But it’s worth it. The more you do it the tougher your feet will get and the more intuitive you’ll be (to avoid dangerous things).

It’s also a great way to ground yourself. While there may be controversy in the science surrounding the benefits of grounding, there’s no doubt that barefoot is the natural state of walking.

7. Walking Workout

Training Walking

One of the biggest objections I get from clients is, “I can do the bodyweight strength training, resistance training, and sprint sessions — those are short and sweet. But walking on top of all that is just too much of a time investment.”

I so get it! We’re all busy. I quit my job to build Rebooted Body full time and I’ve never worked more in my life. So, what’s my solution?

Step One: Make daily activity a priority — schedule the time.

Step Two: Walking Workouts to combine walking with a workout to fit it all in.

A Walking Workout is where you combine bodyweight strength training or a sprint session with your walk. You can spread it throughout the entire walk, pausing at various points, or you can do the workout portion all at once in the middle or at the end of the walk.

If you’re clever, you can do this with resistance training too. It depends on how Grok you wanna be with finding big logs, rocks, and so on.

A big benefit to this is that the brisk walking is a great warmup for whatever else you’re going to do. And it’s a natural cool down as well. Perfect.

A final tip for staying motivated.

As humans, we need to be walking — intentionally — every day. Understanding this, let me help you deal with all the excuses and objections with one single tip.

Here it is…

It doesn’t matter if you have five minutes or 5 hours, get outside and walk intentionally every single day.

There’s plenty of days where I feel too busy or unmotivated. On those days, I just walk to the end of my street and back. Five to ten minutes. When I’m feeling motivated, I’ll walk for an hour or two.

Avoid boxing yourself into plans and schedules. Saying, “I’ll walk 30 minutes a day” is too rigid. Habits come from doing things without fail, but building a habit has nothing to do with duration of the activity.

What you’ll find when you walk daily without setting time limits is freedom. Most of the time, once you’re out the door you’ll decide to go further than you felt like going. But, if you think you MUST do some arbitrary amount of time, you may not make it out the door at all.

If you have any tips for making walks more exciting or engaging, I’d love to hear them in the comments section!

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119 thoughts on “7 Powerful Ways to Make Walking More Exciting”

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  1. I LOVE walking! I haven’t been doing it as much lately now that I’m marathon training again, but it’s my favorite way to relax, explore a new city, or spend time catching up with a friend.

  2. I try to get outside and walk everyday for lunch. I typically don’t do anything fancy..just sunshine and unwind. I want to start walking with a backpack for extra weight in the evenings for some extra conditioning.

    I wish my community had better walkways. We’re close enough to walk to the nearest stores, but we live on a fairly busy road with no sidewalks. No bueno for the kids’ strollers. 🙁

    1. Are the kids small enough to fit in a sling? You could leave the backpack and haul the kid. Just a suggestion…

      1. Unfortunately, that’s not an option. We got 3 kids…two just turned 1 and the oldest is 2 1/2.

        1. Can I please encourage you to research slings further, I know ladies who have carried 2 at once (1 on front & 1 on back). I personally was still carrying my younger son at 3 years old. You do need to find the right slings to allow you to do this and with three kids it will take 2 adults, but if you really want to then it is doable.

          Best wishes in raising primal kids.

  3. I don’t know, I think I just love running too much! But there are so many great ideas and tips in this article, it makes walking look fun 🙂 And walking barefoot definitely just feels great.

    1. Hi Michelle– I love running too, but I had to give it up due to an injury. For a while I could not walk at all either. When I was able to walk again, I found that I LOVE to walk, and that for the first time in my life I developed pretty awsome leg muscles. Now I walk 1 to 2.5 hours every day, and, thanks to my PrimalCon Mohonk experience, where I found myself doing amazing rock scrambling (check out the pictures!), I now look for anything and everything to climb over, hop up onto, or scurry under when I am out there. I have never felt more agile. I suspect that you may enjoy it quite a bit!

      1. Very cool! That’s amazing that you noticed a difference in your legs from walking too. Something I’m interested in trying for sure, although it will probably have to wait until after my fall marathon.

        1. After the marathon would be a great time to get into walking– you will need a break from running any way. Be creative: look for any opportunity to incorporate “play.” Good luck in your marathon!

    2. I run….usually faster, longer, and often…..because I LOVE running. Here’s the thing —> I found my running kept getting better as long as I would go for a “breath/meditation” walk as a cool down (usually right after a giant animal protein meal)

      wake up

      stretch like an animal and get a huge glass of water and make a spirulina drink

      walk to garden (minimal clothing and barefoot with drinks)

      explore garden and look at what plants are looking good today…drink water and spirulina while soaking in the sun or rain or snow

      Go for about an hour of exercise (running/climbing/lifting/yoga/swimming basically anything physically demanding – even some big time garden work)

      do at least a little dynamic stretching

      Eat a huge animal + garden meal

      then really stretch out/roll out/ swim or bike casually

      Eat again

      go about your day and walk/move whenever possible

      then at night make sure to have a nice breath/meditation/good form walk – feel the ground/feel your muscles and bones and tell things to go where they should. If at all possible barefoot.

      Then if I have a race coming up then I watch a cheetah running in slowmo – it is very inspirational to see all of its muscles and form

    1. Definitely Anthony! Joining a walking meetup where you can meet new people at the same time is another option 🙂

  4. Good stuff! Definitely going to incorporate Agility Walking, and can probably get the kids interested in that too. I just wish there was a nice woods nearby, or anything other than urban/suburban…it’s just not the same. I gotta redesign this city.

    1. Are there benches, cement “fences”, raised curbs? You could use all these things for agility walking! Jump over or on the bench, walk on curbs like a balance beam, roll over the hood of a car…okay, maybe not this last one, but I think even urban areas have the things you need to make things interesting. Plus, you have the added benefit of getting weird looks from passersby! Bonus points for doing it all barefoot. 😉

  5. “Homo Sapien Domestico Fragilus.” I love this! Haha!

    I have the great fortune of working one block from Balboa Park in San Diego and make a walk for my lunch break time a daily routine. It never gets old. I can walk through the park, down trails, or walk down urban streets with views of old Victorian homes and the bay in the distance. I’m truly blessed. My wife and I also walk nearly every night around our neighborhood after dinner. We’re looking for ways to vary up our walks, so I plan to use some of these ideas. Great guest blog, thanks!

    1. I have a nice park near my workplace.
      I do my sprints there and once in a while I put my slackline between two trees and have a lot of fun with it (I am getting better and better, I can walk 15 meters without falling, from tree to tree!)

  6. Since I live in a bottle-deposit state I use that as an incentive for the hunting-gathering impulse. If people are lazy enough to discard what’s basically nickels on the ground, I’ll go ahead and pick them up. Same goes for scrap metal as I live by a place that pays per pound for it. I get quite a few squats in by the end of the route too.

    1. Love this idea. I used to take an empty trash bag and latex gloves and just keep walking until I filled it up with trash or litter. Think I’ll start doing that again!

    2. You could also toss around a bunch of native wildflower seeds or even vegetable seeds (throw a rotten tomato or watermelon and it will totally grow)

      Then you can do the same walk everyday and see something new everyday as you see when certain plants are flowering…its pretty awesome. I was inspired after seeing about 1000lbs of tomatoes growing in a tiny little parking lot median by a chipotle…someone must have thrown a tomato or salsa from chipotle. I was poor and in college….I had tears I was so happy to see it. Then I would take 6 tomatoes each day on my walk/run/cross fit and eat them, but I would take 1 tomato and throw it somewhere randomly….by next year it was attack of the tasty tomatoes

    1. I guess I’m not there yet, I love to walk in the rain or the wind, but not both at the same time! I always get comment that it’s a weird weather to take a walk and it makes me smile.

    2. “If you’re always waiting for the perfect conditions, you’ll never accomplish anything.”

      Running in the snow is a favorite of mine. Especially since if it’s snowing, it’s typically a bit warmer out here in Alaska.

  7. I needed this today. I love walking, but I walk the same area almost all the time. Time to go exploring!

  8. “There’s nothing like feeling the Earth — putting the nerves in the bottom of your feet against the soil is as primal as it gets.”

    Is there a tracking/hunting connection to proprioception?

    Item: The first time I ‘ran’ barefoot again (very, very slowly), I noticed immediately the sensory input going right from my feet clearing my sinuses. Certain body-workers know that massaging between the big toes is a meridian to clear the sinuses.

    I’ve been wondering, and haven’t been able to find any research, that the connection between our feet and our noses may have been an adaptation for tracking and hunting. As we tracked, senses tuned acutely to the landscape, walking barefoot kept our sinuses open, the better to smell and track our prey.


    1. That’s really interesting. I’m not sure if it’s an adaptation or if it’s just an increase in things like adrenaline to keep your feet safe and senses aware (which then has a subsequent impact on things like sinuses and other skills required for hunting effectively). Definitely something to look into.

  9. Sigh. All fine tips, and walking is a great form of activity, no doubt; I gotta say, though – I`m fed up with the collective Paleo hate on for running. Running per se is no more intrinsically “destructive” than strength training/weightlifting is; as with everything, its downstream effects depend on dose and context. The available data clearly demonstrate that moderate training volumes do a body more good than harm. Yeah, sure, elite endurance athletes – and those who try to emulate them – don`t exactly do their body any favours in the long run – but the same goes for elite powerlifters, and yet professing one`s unconditional contempt for squatting, benching, and deadlifting doesn`t seem to be much of a thing in the “Paleosphere”…

    1. I’m not sure how the pounding movement of running is equally harmful to the non-pounding movement of weight lifting? Especially when you factor in the sheer quantity of pounding movements. I think it’s also important to parse individual runners from the “running” model — some people run properly; most don’t. If someone runs improperly, it’s exponentially more destructive. So, please understand this is general advice for the general public, not an attack on people who run, who know what they’re doing, who understand all the ramifications.

      1. I get where you`re coming from; the notion that running must be inherently (more) harmful to the joints (than weightlifting) due to “the sheer quantity of pounding” involved in it makes intuitive sense – the available evidence, however, does not, by and large, corroborate it. Sure, running “improperly” may end up being “destructive” sooner or later, but – again – the same goes for weightlifting; for every overzealous (novice) runner afflicted with ITBS/stress fractures/,… due to not having paid sufficient attention to proper form, I can show you an overzealous (novice) weightlifter afflicted with shoulder/lower back/,… troubles resulting from the same issue (I myself have managed to foolishly injure my rotator cuff/herniate lumbar discs repeatedly while weightlifting).
        You jokingly bemoan how “fragile” our esteemed subspecies H. s. sapiens has become – shouldn`t one goal of “general advice for the general public” on the topic of regular movement, then, consist of reclaiming the “antifragility” that was once ours by way of encouraging people to (re)learn how to perform a wide variety of activities with proper form (a la “MovNat”), instead of recommending that average Joes and Janes categorically shy away from anything and everything that is potentially injurious?

        1. I would have to respectfully disagree with your assessment. All the research I’ve seen shows that running is the most injurious activity the population engages in for exercise. If you have research that shows otherwise, I’d be open to looking at it.

          I’m not against people doing things that are **potentially** injurious. I’m against them doing things that are **probably** injurious, that cause the most degradation to the body, and that I don’t believe there is much evolutionary use for. I have no problem with low levels of running. Most people run too much, too often, with poor diet, poor sleep, and poor form. Could we fix that? Sure. Probably. But there are more important things on the agenda when it comes to transforming the landscape of human health than to teach everyone how to run endlessly without doing themselves a complete disservice. Especially when walking and sprinting provide benefit that requires no running supplementation. It’s just not my priority.

          If you started a blog and made the base of it running and taught people how to do all this stuff properly, I’d probably send all my readers who love to run to you — I’ve got nothing against people doing what they want and finding smarter ways to do it 😉

        2. Karl, you also have to factor in the hormonal issues with long distance running. I’m not going to spell it all out because I’m sure we all know what chronic cardio does to cortisol levels in the body and how that could exacerbate the “continuous pounding” on the joints.

          Novice-related injuries aside, I still have to side with weightlifting being easier on the joints. A standard weightlifting routine will have you doing anywhere from 20-40 reps of any given exercise, whereas a runner might strike the ground a few thousand times in a single run.

          If you enjoy running and haven’t experienced any adverse issues with it, more power to you, but I think Mark’s advice to avoid long chronic cardio sessions is sound advice for the average person trying to enjoy optimal health (especially when there are plenty of alternatives that are quicker and/or more enjoyable).

        3. I think humans were born to run, just not the same pace, same stride, same hard surface over and over again. When I stopped doing 3x/week jogs of 8-9 minute miles on hard pavement, and switched to trail running on varied terrain, at varied speeds, I felt MUCH better. Now my running takes the form of trail runs with my dog, and I just follow his lead. Sometimes we jog, sometimes we run, sometimes we walk a little, sometimes we sprint. Different muscles, different tendons and ligaments, less chance for overuse injuries.

        4. Kevin:

          “All the research I`ve seen shows that running is the most injurious activity the population engages in for exercise.”

          Really? From what I´ve seen, the typical injury rate in (granted, adequately supervised) long distance running is about 3 per 1000 hours of training (see for example “Injuries in runners.”/ Lysholm, Wiklander; 2.5 per 1000 hours of training), which, according to the limited available data, seems to be pretty similar to CrossFit (3.1 per 1000 hours trained; “The nature and prevalence of injury during CrossFit training.”/Hak et al.). That, in turn, is pretty close to what is typically reported for Olympic weight-lifting, power-lifting and gymnastics, and decidedly lower than the numbers for, say, skiing/tennis/soccer and the like, not to mention competitive contact sports.
          All in all, it seems pretty clear that many recreational activities that people engage in for “play” and exercise purposes are more injurious than running (or at least as injurious).

          So – if running falls within your definition of a “**probably** injurious activity,” all the above-mentioned ones are out too.

          As for running causing “the most degradation to the body” – where`s the evidence? Contrary to popular belief, osteoarthritis rates aren`t higher in runners than in nonrunners, and the hypothesis of James O`Keefe and others – namely, that “chronic cardio”, ie running more than about an hour a day, does more harm than good to the cardiovascular system in the long term – isn`t actually substantiated by the currently available data (see “Will Running Too Much Kill You?” by Alex Hutchinson for a decent summary of the current state of the evidence).

          Believing that there isn`t much “evolutionary use for” running is, of course, your prerogative, though it bears mentioning that the school of thought you adhere to with regard to the evolution of human locomotion is not exactly uncontested in the realm of paleoanthropology (“Endurance running and the evolution of Homo”/Bramble, Lieberman).

          “…walking and sprinting provide benefit that requires no running supplementation.”

          That is context-dependent, I`d say. If one wishes to improve one`s performance in sports/”play” with an aerobic component, for example, building a decent “aerobic base” can be a worthwile endeavour (see the work of Joel Jamieson and Mike Robertson, for example); for someone who is only interested in musculoskeletal/cardiovascular/ metabolic health, I agree – though running can improve those parameters, too, if practised correctly.

          As far as starting a blog is concerned:
          That would be kind of superfluous, considering how many sources of information along these lines already exist – like, for example, barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu (which contains the musings of above-mentioned paleoanthropologist Daniel Lieberman on the biomechanics of endurance running), paleorunner.org, strengthrunning.com, completehumanperformance.com (this one is mainly about combining endurance athletics and power-lifting – Alex Viada is a beast!),….


          As I have previously stated, all of this is dose- and context- dependent. While the “net impact” of high and very high mileages is controversial, as of yet, (at this point, there simply is no solid evidence on how much damage the observed endocrine phenomena actually do; see my response to Kevin) there aren`t actually any “hormonal issues” in the moderate mileage range (which is why running in this mileage range improves bone density), so if “chronic cardio” is meant to imply that endurance exercise is inherently harmful, it is a demonstrably false concept.
          If we go by Mark`s definition, which declares prolonged “steady state” activity beyond 75 percent of one`s maximum heart rate “chronic cardio,” endurance training is actually rather compatible with the Primal Blueprint, seeing as most “modern” training plans call for the bulk of the training to be done at intensities below said 75% MHR, and are thus perfectly in line with the “Primal fitness commandment” to “move frequently at a slow pace” (If I am not mistaken, Mark is currently writing a book about “Primal endurance”….).
          Of course nobody “needs” to run – to each their own -, but some people actually like running – those multitudinous “alternatives” you bring up aren`t “more enjoyable” for me, to give but one example.

          As to the running/weightlifting comparison: Again, see my response to Kevin.

    2. I am 62. I made the mistake of running marathons (3 of them) and like for 25 years I had the religion of running 10k every Saturday.
      The result is that you get the knees of an 80 year old person when you are 40.
      Now I run sprints every week, I have been able to fix my knees with a lot of work and dedication. I am now a 62 years old with knees of a 50 years old.
      End of my two cents

      1. Could you share a brief description of what you did to fix your knees?
        I assume a paleo diet and mobility exercises such as mobilitywod would help, but I am curious if you have more tips to share.

        1. Sure glad to share my experiences.
          Mobilitywod is perfect
          – Foam roller daily, several times
          – Check the videos on RunnersWold of “Ask the Doctor”, the guy has videos. RunnersWord is a treasure chest for injuries treatments it is evident they have a lot of experience :-). One of the exercises I got from there was to do sets of 15 jumps (no weight).
          – Do squats with perfect form (checkout Kelly Starret Becoming a Supple Leopard).
          – Do above squats with the vodoo wraps!!! (this is my favorite now)
          – In the beginning I used the machine in the gym where you are laying down and you press weights. You can do full flexion of the knee with small weight and increase little by little.
          – When you are better do one leg squats with the other leg behind in a bench. Later you will do them with a pair of small dumbells. Important: PERFECT FORM
          – Sprints are ok (of course, doing them correctly, no talon strike)
          Right now I can do Zumba sessions and no pain, so happy!

  10. Didn’t read the post yet, just headings, currently pressed for time, though I’ve been doing all these walking variations for years. So it’s nothing new to me, but I definitely approve. Yesterday the bolts holding my bike seat in place gave out so I spent a lot of the day biking around standing. That equaled a pretty good drawn out leg torture session. I had to stand-up bike up a big hill today too to get to the beer and wine stores but luckily outside the beer store there was another guy with a bike and a wrench sort of tool who fixed my seat for me.
    I’d like to add Impaired/Inebriated/Tipsy Walking/locomotion to the list. It’s a good way to practice balance.

    1. ahahahahah, good visuals on your post today. I can just “see” you going up that hill trying not to hurt youirself on that pole without that seat and then the “Impaired/Inebriated/Tipsy Walking/locomotion”……. Remember to do that AFTER the bike is parked and securely hidden, not that you’d need a reminder since you said “walking”….

    2. alcohol has inspired many random/dynamic late night/early morning walks/runs/fence climbs….and even a swim once

      1. and maybe a bit of calling “Lou Rawls” on the big white phone…..

        1. It’s partially a factor in my having to stay in the “big white house” for a few days one time… car struck my back bike tire on a back highway causing me to flip and land in the ditch (don’t worry, I survived), emergency crews were called, and the cops made me go with the paramedics or else go with them, to a cell for the night to get sober I suppose.
          I’m on a new bike now, don’t know how long it will last. It’s kind of small and one of the pedals fell off so I’ve been riding it like a scooter. That gets grueling after a while and basically works and tires my whole body but sucks for going up anything other than a short slight slope – I have to walk up lots of hills and since I recently got used to biking everywhere again I feel handicapped and impatient when I have to walk somewhere. I look at having a bike like a life hack. It makes travel so much more convenient and allows me to get much more done.

  11. I always liked fast walking rock jetties by the ocean. It is great for foot/eye coordination and balance. Traversing a jetty consists of jumping, sidestepping and the constant awareness of danger avoidance. I guess a rocky creek bed will do to for those far from a harbor mouth.

  12. In exactly a week I’ll be doing my 3rd Nijmegen walk—Walk of the World. 4 days, 200km in total, 50 km a day. Oh, and that along with 40,000 other walking fanatics.
    I always knew how beneficial walking was for me, but when a 90 year old man collects his medal along side you, it becomes very real how important it is for your all around well-being. I’ll walk to my grave if I can..

  13. I love to walk in the rain. If it’s cold, I walk with a coat and an umbrella, but in the summer, I love walking in the rain without anything. Well with shorts and a tank top I guess! hehe.

    I would add to walk with bugs in that list though. Because that’s the one thing I definitely always avoid. I hate to be eaten, I’m fragile like that.. A nicer idea is to walk in water. At the beach, in a stream or a brook. You will feel connected with nature even without being barefoot. I love it.

  14. I was thrilled to see this today, because I have almost accidentally made this kind of workout my focus. I live in a great city for walking, which helps, and I’ve lately been walking about 7 or 8 hours a week. (Not very fast, usually. 24 miles is a typical total.) I do a lot of little walks plus an occasional long one, up and down over bridges, just in the neighborhood, to and from yoga class or the gym. I am always looking for stair workouts in the wild, too, whether in the subway or just doing repeats on the two or three story climbs onto the bridges. Sometimes I commute from the Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan and that’s one of my favorite stair sprinting locations! During the semester, when I’m really busy teaching, just adding a stop to my walk to the train or making sure I never take the elevator helps keep me from losing much fitness, even when I don’t have time for the formal stuff.

  15. PS In honor of the post, I just got back from a new destination, heading out in a new direction over a bridge I never crossed on foot before. Thanks.

  16. I’ve always liked to walk, but in my time in the ‘burbs I had to severely curtail it thanks to lack of sidewalks, oblivious soccer moms weaving all over the place in their SUVs yakking on their phones or perverts who thought “hey, baby, need a ride?” was a viable pickup line. Now I live in the city in a national historic district. Sidewalks galore–challenging ones too, brick and cobblestone that run into, shall we say, indifferent upkeep. My normal route takes me through two parks, one with a playground and a well-paved uphill trail (and stairs). I would gladly walk to my job if it provided showers–I sweat super easy. Now that I’m back in the walking habit, time to do some urban hiking.

  17. good suggestions, but I have another.
    Walking games. Ask any 8 year old to teach you. The classic game of “Lava”(everything is “lava” except what you choose, i.e… white lines, curbs. etc) is a favorite in my life. In a group or by yourself. Usually the person I’m walking with tries to kill me, but that just makes it more challenging. “Tree high fives”, is the game where if a tree crosses your path you have to jump touch a branch. “Curb Runner”, is the one where you have to take the curb as far as you are going and mix in a little “lava” when there isn’t curb.

    1. Awesome! “ask an 8 year old”
      I won’t ever say “no” again when I’m asked to join in game of “alligators” _ only step on the roots and rocks… otherwise you’ll lose a foot!

    2. “Lava” reminds me of a game my husband played as a kid– “BPOLA” which stood for “Boiling Pits Of Lava Acid.” 😀

      1. Which reminds me of the tar pits in the neighborhood I grew up in. Sometimes a pit would be very thick and we would dare each other to run across it before it sucked us in. We became connoisseurs of which tar pits we could run across. One mistake and it might as well of been a boiling pit of lava acid.

    1. Running has to be put in context. Running in the way most mainstream people approach running certainly does destroy your body. Running moderately, with good nutrition, good sleep, good recovery, and the right shoes can be perfectly healthy. Please understand that authors have to make generalizations to make a point or articles would be atrociously long.

  18. In the Spring, Summer & Fall most of my low-level activity comes from gardening, & I can happily endure miserable heat, bug bites, scratches, hunger, thirst & utter exhaustion, so long as it happens in the garden. 🙂

    But my gardenless Winter always sent me into severe hibernation mode & major SAD that bordered on agorophobia. This past Winter I resolved to get out of the house every day & walk– no time limit, just as Mark said, but no days off for “bad weather” either. I was astonished at how a day that looked miserable from indoors was actually pleasantly bracing once I got out there, & my mood was vastly improved from the usual. I’m definitely an all-weather walking convert!

    1. Is there a time you notice was better to walk in winter? Like by midday? I’m interesting in trying that next winter. I made myself some mitten-warmers so I guess I will be able to stay a little more time outdoor with them.

      1. I would start with short walks at midday, if you can work that into your schedule. I did sometimes go out at dusk, if I couldn’t do it earlier, & it still helped, but I think the daylight sun is part of the magic, even if it’s a dark day. And of course it’s warmer then too. 🙂

  19. Walking is indeed very boring. Walking with a dog however is just wonderful.

    1. I love walking. It’s a nice time to unwind and enjoy the scenery. Just wish I had more time to walk!

    2. Dogs make you get out there and walk every day! I love my two dogs, The Beagle Brothers, for not ony their companionship but also the fact they make me walk, even in the rain 😉

    3. Why does walking have to be exciting? I walk the same route over and over again with few variations. Exciting? Not at all, but it is exhilarating. I enjoy the fresh air on my skin, the sun (or moon) on my back, the smell and feel of the various seasons, and of course walking just plain feels good. I leave the getting-excited part to my dog. She does enough of that for both of us.

  20. I walk to a little grocery store nearly everyday on my lunch break, or if I pack a lunch I walk around the park a block from work. It’s a relaxing way to spend an hour, and a great way to break up the work day. Been doing it for about a year and I think it’s definitely had a positive effect on me. Love these ideas and can’t wait to incorporate them.

  21. I started walking years ago for depression. Walk a dog! They make you make it a habit! I also listen to a book on my evening walk.

  22. For me walking is a chop wood/carry water meditation. I get some peace and quiet away from my children and husband and a chance to think uninterrupted and just to let my mind wander and play a bit. I also trail walk, partly because I like the changes in terrain and not walking on concrete(makes my feet hurt) and simply because I enjoy the scenery and it relaxes me. I enjoy the sound of the wind in the trees, the sound of the water in the river and the sound of my footsteps. I enjoy the smell of the leaves and earth. My husband won’t walk anywhere unless he has a destination and a purpose. He completely does not understand my enjoyment of just wandering in the woods. Needless to say we never walk anywhere together. I enjoy watching the plants and flowers change with the seasons and the birds and animals as well. Living in Western Washington State if I didn’t walk in the rain I would seldom walk at all. The rain makes things smell good. You just dress for the weather. Getting out on the trails is a mini retreat for me and leaves me mentally refreshed and energized.

    1. Geocaching is a great motivator for my family to get out and walk. One cache will lead us down a trail to discover yet another park in Bellevue, Wa or another is a simple park and grab in Kirkland. Easy or challenging, near or far as you choose.

      I live in the PNW as well, and my kids have learned they get the whole park to themselves on a rainy day. We just wear a coat tied around the waist for the first few times down the slide. Gotta be willing to go outside and explore…Never know when we will find a park just off the trail!

  23. I love these suggestions! I use most of them in my walks, but you’ve given me some new ideas. Walking is my favorite form of exercise. Most people don’t realize how versatile a walking workout can be!

  24. One of the best ways that I know to enhance walking, is to take a gun. Seriously….. Rifle or shotgun.

    It keeps me alert and interested, because I need to be even more aware of what is going on around me than creatures that avoid predators to live. Like Grok, I am a part of the landscape – a high-level predator in my own right. It is the difference between being in the game and merely watching from the stands.

    It takes me into the rough terrain and the uneven footing, because that is where my prey lives, or where I need to be to see it, but I also need to be fully aware of my footing as I require not just comfort, but quiet.
    You can’t hurry it, sort of sifting through the landscape rather than merely passing through it.

    Another variation is walking cross-country in the dark. What you lose in ability to see, you gain in focus on your senses. Listening to what is going on around you and having to feel your way with your feet and legs as the terrain changes.

    Not everyone thinks of hunting as “nice”, but it is interactive living in your environment in a way that little else has to offer.

  25. I’m lucky enough to live on the river, and although I walk the same path most days, the varying weather conditions, wildlife, and other walkers keep it interesting. I’m always on the lookout for a beaver or an eagle, and for a week we had an escaped bull roaming the banks of the river. Love Idaho!

    1. That’s truly awesome 🙂 — I love hearing about people’s different walking locations. Sometimes I’ll prompt people to post pictures of their walk on Facebook/Twitter/etc cause I love seeing everyone’s corner of the world.

  26. I remember a quote I read in a book by Colin Fletcher, author of The Thousand Mile Summer: “Now shall I walk or shall I ride? Ride, Pleasure said. Walk, Joy replied.”

  27. I have a hound mix, so walking every day is what I need to do for my dog’s mental and physical health, and naturally it works for me too!! Living with a dog is the best thing I have ever done for myself as far as exercise goes. I do all the kinds of walking that Mark mentioned and have for 20+ years.

  28. Thank you for the post Kevin. While I walk at work 3 to 4 miles during the day, it is inside a building. Not the same as on my days off walking in the park or down by the river.

    Around my back yard I am in the process of conditioning my feet by walking barefoot. How come when we get older we forget how fun it is to walk barefoot?

    Again I am glad I found this site.:)

  29. I love how the post encourages people to break out of their normal routines with walking. I have pondered myself recently how much sense it makes to integrate food, and home products into every day life while segregating walking to a 1 mile loop very other day, at the same pace. It actually sounds silly to me to say it out loud! So having ways to make walking a more engaging and integrated experience is awesome, thanks!

  30. I love walking, too! Ever since reading about the health benefits I have been trying to walk as much as possible but I agree, it can be monotonous and boring at times. This list should hopefully help me out with that, so thanks!!


  31. Thanks for the creative tips. I used to walk at lunch daily but got away from it when my commute got short enough that I could drive home for lunch. Looking back though, it’s amazing how much those 20 minutes of walking creative, unplanned paths changes my outlook on the afternoon and my body. I needed this reminder to get back out and give my body what it naturally yearns for. Thanks!

  32. Such a timely article, as I am reconnecting with my love for walking just this week! I had forgotten how incredible it feels to just walk, listen to my favorite tunes, and look at the world around me – before I know it an hour has passed. I’m going to work up to using many of these tips, thanks for sharing Kevin!

  33. It’s almost 9:00 PM Arizona time and we just got back from our after dinner walk of 2-1/2 miles. We’ve had rain the last few days which has made walking even more pleasant. We walk in our housing development neighborhood – not as sexy as walking in a forest or some fancy park, but nice none-the-less There’s lots of trees and a nice wide sidewalk

    We see quail, lots of rabbits and doves and an occasional squirrel Sometimes we even see a human!

    I love to walk/hike and don’t need any excuse/reason to get moving—–

  34. Its my habit to do morning walk daily, and I generally do it for about 30-40 minutes. Sometimes I walk little less but I do walk daily, as I mentioned its my habit so I just do it. It actually activate my body and I feel more active throughout the day than earlier (when I didn’t walk in the morning).

  35. I don’t have much of a choice in the matter (don’t really want one, either). My mother never learned to drive, and neither did I so I’ve been reliant on my own two feet for the majority of my life now. My partner never learned to drive either, and- though it’s somewhat limited by his fibromyalgia- we walk pretty much everywhere together. It’s such a normal part of life that I never really find it ‘boring’, as such- just uncomfortable at times (when it’s raining heavily, or later at night in my fairly…’troubled’… suburb). I think that walking so regularly (I’ve only ever had to stop due to a serious foot injury) helps me focus on little details that make the walk more enjoyable: like having to navigate the flock of corellas that always settles on the sidewalk in the mornings.

  36. I agree with not planning and scheduling walks, I simply walk whenever I can and equally enjoy little ambles in the country and full on ‘get there as fast as you can’ walks to the station in the morning. I actually find it therapeutic to walk in the rain, which is just as well as that’s what we have most of in the UK!

  37. As an outdoorsman/hunter, I get to ‘exploration walk’ throughout most of our 4 seasons. I love my time in the woods. I haven’t found a way to do it barefoot yet while still keeping my feet warm during our autumn and early winter seasons.

  38. Forgive my ignorance, but how long is it recommended to walk daily in order to not “over-exercise”? I am in a very weakened condition, and am trying to maintain muscle strength by walking. Yet, merely walking can make me feel tired afterward. Is there a certain time that is advised? Or does everyone have their sweet spot? What are signs of one’s “sweet spot”? How do I know when I’ve overdone it, and when I’m just doing a healthy pushing myself?

    1. I think it’s one of those things where “you’ll know” when you’re at your limit. It’s low enough intensity that it’s tough to overdo it if you’re simply listening to your body. Does that make sense?

  39. I walk 4-5 miles daily and this is all good advice. Here’s two more:
    – Ride a bus or other public transport out and walk back. I have several favorite routes for this.
    – Try silent walking: https://medium.com/@martinedic/silent-walking-f89c605a884f

    We used to do this on hikes in boy scouts. It took me years to realize a brilliant scoutmaster had figured out how to shut 15 young boys up in the woods!

  40. Since I have been doing a lot of yard work, wouldn’t this be equivalent to walking, or more with moving stuff, cutting plants, etc?

  41. I had some nice walks lately on a trip to Colorado. well…they started as walks but from 13000ft and higher it became more climbing…Mt Maroon is a little too steep for walking….but I reached the summit! then a day of rest….which involved carrying a 55lb pack another 5 miles….car trip to outside of Leadville (I would ride a horse if I had one in Colorado)…then another 4 miles + now 50lb pack (I ate a lot of food and drank a lot of water)….slept after bear bagging my stuff…woke up and walked up Mt Elbert

    Mt Elbert = walk/hike
    Mt Maroon = Hang on/pull yourself up/trust your toes/hang on your bones/Hang on and survive

    Mt Maroon gave me some lifetime memories

  42. Okay, I thought someone would mention the photo with the woman in a short skirt and high heels walking in the winter. That seems a little crazy to me although I do see that on occasion. Why anyone would think this is a good idea is beyond me.

    Once, on an extremely cold wintery day, I was following an elderly woman walking through our village. I was bundled up to my eyeballs and she was wearing a dress, nylon hose on her legs, regular shoes and no hat. When I caught up to her, I asked if she was freezing. She said no, she always dressed this way in the winter. I am still puzzled by her. Maybe she was lying, like the women who say high heels are comfortable.

    The truth, Kevin. Why did you include that image?

    1. The truth? Have you tried searching for stock images that you have to pay for so you don’t get sued, only to realize that there’s very few photographers who take amazing pictures of people walking barefoot in snowy weather? When you find one and purchase it for me so I can have Mark’s team replace the one that’s there, let me know.

      1. Okay, I figured it was a stock image. Sorry that was the best you could get. It is a striking image for sure but I just didn’t think it conveyed what you were all about.

        I have a friend who supplies stock images and is into the whole primal thing. I will talk to her and see if she can come up with something. Might even be for free. Or maybe I could take an amazing photo. I have been known to do that on occasion. Won’t be soon however since winter is more than a few months away. However, barefoot? Probably not.

        And, BTW thanks for your creative article. I’m sure it will get a bunch of us out and about.

  43. I have a friend who collects rusty metal to make jewelry and art. I have a 5 mile loop that I walk clockwise one time and counterclockwise the next time, looking for and picking up any rusty metal I find. Some days I come home with over a pound. As a bonus, I am squatting and reaching. It’s really fun for me. I consider it a good day if I find a really rusty washer and a tire weight. Some days I find things that are so large I wonder how the vehicle proceeded without the part!

  44. In my younger days I could walk 10 miles without much difficulty, 20 if I pushed myself. But when I retired due to poor health (a heart attack, diabetes) I was in very poor shape. After a mile of easy strolling I felt I needed a sit down and a snack. After two miles I was shaky with fatigue and couldn’t continue without taking a snack and rest break. Obviously I needed to do a lot more walking. But just walking was boring.

    So I restarted my old hobby of photography with a nice new camera. A good reason to walk, to look, to explore. I walked as far as I could at least once a week, and preferentially walked everywhere carrying a camera. That soon became a bag of camera plus lenses and sometimes a tripod.

    Eight years later I can now happily walk for several miles up and down hill, clambering over walls and fences, etc., carrying several Kg of camera gear, and without needing to stop for a rest or a snack.

  45. Love walking after dinner time! Every season is has new sights, and beautiful skies. I especially love walking during the winter holidays -checking out all the decorations and lights! Makes you want to explore new neighborhoods, too.

  46. Thank you for this article!

    I am one of those that gets analysis paralysis–where, if I can’t do the minimums outlined, but lack the movtivation to meet the minimums, I end up doing nothing at all.

    You just gave me (the mental) permission I needed to throw that hooey out the window! I’ve always known it was a load of c**p, but for whatever reason, my mind still insists that if the experts say you must do this-and-that, that anything less isn’t worth the time, as no results will come from it. And I’m all about results, otherwise, why bother?!?

    So, your words were just what my feeble mind needed to hear, as I always lack the motivation. Now I have permission to just walk to the end of my street and back for 5 to 10 minutes, if that’s all I’ve got in me, and that’s good enough. Before it always felt like it wasn’t “good enough”, so I ended up doing nothing, just like you said.

    And guess what?!? I took the advice, and went for a stroll yesterday, even though I didn’t fell much like it. I had no time or distance goals, just a destination I hadn’t been to in awhile, and I ended up walking 40 minutes, which was almost a mile round trip. I started out just going for 5 to 10 🙂

  47. I have to add a comment to Patrick’s of 8th July “Ask any 8 year old to teach you”
    WOW! After reading this yesterday I got the joggers out (I hadn’t been walking or exercising much for a few weeks as it is winter here in Australia) I waited for the sleety rain to stop and went walking with my son who is 9 (I am 50) we started up the road, headed off through the paddock up a hill to the trees and picked our way over some logs and sticks then some star jumps and through another gate and mud and back down another paddock over rocks, through a creek and home. This was all while doing any of the following – side jumps, leap frogging over tussocks, scrambling over rocks, skipping, running, deep breathing, jumping, talking non stop, jumping puddles, landing on a rock in the middle of a creek and scrambling up the other side. I was struggling to do 1/4 of what he did. We even lay down and rolled under the electric fence over the wet grass. When we got home he says “that was fun can we do that again” i replied “sure can but just may be not today”! don’t underestimate the power of kids to teach.

  48. Thank you for this article. It’s always a problem for me to go for a walk every day though I know how it’s important for being healthy. When I had a dog it was much easier. Our laziness is our enemy)))

  49. We have 3 dogs, walking is something we do twice a day every day! One of the main benefits of having dogs is they need to be walked. We sort our weekends around taking them to different places up hills and mountains, to the beach etc. The feeling of walking in nature is the best thing for me to get over stress.

  50. I thought Nordic walking might get a mention here. It engages 90% of the body and is excellent for fitness. Plus it’s certainly more interesting and dynamic than walking without poles.

  51. At any given time I have a gout flare up in either my toes, feet, ankles or knees; on one side or the other, sometimes both. This forces me to either walk very slowly or actually limp. Does anyone have any ideas on getting past this?

  52. Great Article. Truth be told . I love walking on my treadmill usually more. I love summer but live in Canada! ????. Any advice for a northern treadmill walker? Besides moving to Hawaii ?

  53. Austin is a great place to not have to have an excuse to walk. I might be spoiled to have a dog that I enjoy walking in a neighborhood that is safe and beautiful enough to appreciate the routine. But even if that wasn’t my outlet to walk, there are so many other ways to enjoy walking in Austin. Lakes, parks, outdoor entertainment. I’m sorry to have to disagree with any part of the article that leaned towards not enjoying a walk. If you can’t find a way to enjoy a walk in Austin, you’re simply not trying hard enough.

  54. I used to find running boring, but for some reason did it anyway. One day after my morning lap in the park i decided to do some meditation, and was just really filled with energy. I started running again, and it ended up in a new form of interval jogging that i have been doing since. I call it freakrunning, and what i do is go of the tracks, and run like a crazywoman jumping bushes and dodging trees, until i am exhausted. Then i just walk slowly until my energylevel is built up again, and go at it again until im bored 🙂 Great workout, and lots of fun!

  55. Best thing I did to engrave this habit in stone in my life? Take the dog out regularly. Rain or shine, felling good or crappy, he INSISTS on 2x a day. And a 95lb German Shepard can wreck your day if you try to thwart him. Even if it’s 10 minutes, we will be out for our stroll.

    And I never, ever regret going out, no matter how much else I had to do or how much I complained beforehand. Thanks Bear!