9 Tips to Help You Get Walking

Taking a long walk is one of life’s simple joys. But going for a walk is more than that-it’s a surprisingly effective way to control your weight and improve all-around health. When your motivation to put one foot in front of the other wanes, here are nine great tips to help you get out and just keep walking.

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Opt for Pretty Paths

Walk in the prettiest area in your town (or the next town over), even if it means driving there. That could include downtowns, parks, school campuses, or residential areas. According to studies, you'll be more likely to make it a habit.

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Take the Entire Family

You'll be modeling good fitness habits for your children, and it's cheaper than paying a sitter.

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Pump Up the Volume

Research proves it: Listening to music while walking helps you walk longer, probably because you're distracted by the songs and almost forget that you're exercising.

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Explore Your World

Stroll down streets in your own neighborhood that you've never been on, or check out the hiking trail in a nearby park. Varying your terrain will keep you mentally engaged and work different leg muscles, improving the effectiveness of every outing.

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Pick a Charity

Sign up for a charity walk. Or make a donation for every mile you walk for the next two weeks to a nonprofit group you believe in. Exercise can be good for the body and the soul.

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Find a Regular Walking Partner

You're more likely to get out of bed on cold winter mornings or skip the cafeteria at work in favor of a lunchtime walk if someone is expecting you.

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Take a Dog With You

Once your dog gets used to this routine, he or she will never let you forget when it's time for your walk. Don't have a dog? Offer to walk an elderly neighbor's dog twice a week.

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Walk for Entertainment

Walk through the zoo, an art museum, or an upscale shopping mall. First circle the perimeter of your location at your usual brisk pace. Then wander through again more slowly to take in the sights.

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Once a Week, Complete Your Errands on Foot

If you live far from town, drive to within a mile of your destination, park the car, and then walk the rest of the way there and back.