When actor John Cleese high-stepped across the TV screen in a Monty Python sketch called "The Ministry of Silly Walks," it seemed absurdly funny. But he just might have been onto something.
Face it: A daily walking routine can get boring — and when you're bored, it's harder to stick to your workout schedule.
Before exploring how to make daily walk-ercise more fun, here's why you want to keep on walking the walk: It lowers bad LDL cholesterol levels; helps control blood sugar, blood pressure, and stress; and reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression. In addition, you burn calories and build muscle.
Here's how to put some pep in your steps:
1. Try interval walking: Alternate 30 seconds to three minutes of walking quickly with three to five minutes of walking at a regular pace repeated over the course of your 30 to 60+ minute walk.
2. Use Nordic walking poles to increase upper body engagement and calorie burn.
3. Practice meditative walking. Focus on your breathing — a count of four to inhale, then a count of eight, slowly, to exhale. Or try mindful walking. Notice the feel of the air on your skin, listen to the wind in the trees. Let thoughts enter your mind and drift away. (But don't do these while simultaneously doing either of the tips above.) If you add 15 minutes of these calming techniques at the end of a walk, you'll cool down and chill out.