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Kendall here, diving into one of my (and your!) favorite subjects today–daily walks! In this post about pandemic reflections, you all shared how much you love your daily walks during quarantine, and how they’ve become the best part of your day. Between the fresh air, connection to nature, and the mental break and physical release they give you from everyday stressors, daily walks are not overrated!
Whether you’re more of a power walker or a stroller, or a walk-and-talker, or a walk-in-silencer, I’m sharing some ideas to switch up your daily walks from time to time, and how to make them even better! Try implementing some of these ideas this week to shake up your routine:
9 Ways to Make Your Daily Walk Even Better
Walk without a route
We all have a go-to walking route, but sometimes it’s nice to take a stroll for a stroll’s sake! The next time you’re looking to clear your head with a walk, try a new-to-you route that you make up as you go. It’s a great way to keep walks exciting and discover new things and hidden gems in your own neighborhood you’ve never noticed before! (Tip: Star any new places you discover and would like to try on Google Maps, so you can check them out later!)
Head out at different times of day
A lot of us have developed walking rituals in the past year — many of us walking after work to transition into the evening. If you’re walking at the same time every day, try mixing up your timing! Walking first thing in the morning or on your lunch break can break up your day in new ways and give you more time energy to tackle your to-do list. Challenge yourself to try mixing up your walk time at least once this week, and take note of how it changes your day! Who knows, you might develop a routine you love even more!
Add audio (or not)
Walks are amazing opportunities to catch up on podcasts or listen to music. But there’s nothing like just listening to the world around you to inspire and relax you. Whichever camp you fall into, consider shaking things up for a new perspective. Looking for something new to listen to? Check out Real Women Approved: 33 Amazing Podcasts to Binge This Week and Real Women Approved: 40+ Spotify Playlists to Listen to Now.
Call a friend
The ultimate multitasking pair: calling a friend or family member on a walk. The movement will help you focus on your conversation and you’ll also feel productive taking a longer than usual call. You can even schedule calls so you’re both getting a walk in at the same time! (Hint: If you often get bored on longer solo walks, this is a REALLY good way to trick yourself into getting a lot more exercise.)
Tap into your photography skills
Consider having your camera or phone (but turn it on airplane mode, so you aren’t distracted by those alerts!) handy on your next walk to snap a picture of something that catches your eye. Better yet, go on a “photo walk” to purposesly hunt for cool vignettes and photo ops! (Like Jess’ spring Wicker Park photo walk!)
Whether it’s a tree in bloom, a shot of your city that you’ve never noticed before, or an incredible sunset, snapping a photo on your walk is a great way to channel creativity you didn’t know you had, and document a moment in time you’ll be able to look back on.
Make it a date
If you’re used to solo walks, try meeting up with a friend from time to time! Walking with friends is a fun way to meet up outside of restaurants or other crowded areas. Whether you meet up to hold each other accountable and get some movement in, or you make it a real date with some beverages on the go, walking with a buddy or loved one is a fun and social way to mix things up. Don’t have a neighborhood walking buddy? Post in local Facebook groups or on Next Door. It’s a great way to make new friends in a safe, socially distanced way!
Looking to break more of a sweat on your daily walks? Take it up a notch by adding ankle or wrist weights or adding distance. (Check out favorite Jess’ Bala Bangles review here!) You can also download an app to track your pace and aim to beat your time each day. (Or, if you really just care about estimated steps/miles, your iPhone does that for you automatically in the “health” app!)
Give yourself a new destination
Has it been a while since you’ve been to certain parts of town? Start walking to them — even if you have to drive or bike a little bit to get there. If you’re used to walking in a park, try a more urban setting and vice versa. Hit up a list of local and state parks, neighborhoods in your city, and urban attractions that you can explore on foot at different times of the day.
If that’s not of interest to you, maybe pick out a series of cool coffee shops or lunch spots that are a bit of a hike, and set out to get your miles in that way. (Coffee or delicious treats are ALWAYS a great reward for a long walk.)
End with a stretch
Lastly, try ending your walks with a little stretch! Releasing tension and stretching your muscles is a wonderful way to wrap up your walking ritual, relax and clear your mind before gearing up or winding down for the day.