How to Energize a Walking Routine

Walking with Music or a Friend

Walking with music or a friend are excellent ways to spice up your walking routine and keep up your momentum at the same time.

Walking to music can help you get your mind off pressures and problems so that you can concentrate on your walking program instead. Portable audio players, handily equipped with headphones, make it possible for you to take your music with you as you walk.

You can even create your own walking-music program by selecting songs with the rhythm and speed to match each part of your workout, including warm-up and cool-down pieces to perk you up and slow you down, calming songs to stretch by, and fast-paced upbeat selections to keep you walking at a brisk clip.

Enjoy the music, but for the sake of safety, you still need to stay aware of your surroundings. It's a good idea to keep the volume control at a sensible level -- not blasting -- so you can hear any danger signals around you, such as honking car horns, shouting people, or barking dogs.

The Buddy System

For many people, a daily, solitary walk is a welcome opportunity to be alone, to reflect on the events of the previous day or the day ahead. Walking, however, can also be a sociable activity.

Even if you're breathing deeply, you can still chat with a walking companion. As a matter of fact, walking with a companion is a good way to take the "talk test" to be sure you're not walking too fast. Moderate-paced walking shouldn't leave you breathless.

The hidden advantage of the "buddy system" is that it helps motivate you to walk. It's a whole lot harder to use an excuse not to walk, like "It's too cold out," or "I'm too busy today," when a friend is waiting for you. It's a reciprocal arrangement: Your buddy can help motivate you to walk when you are feeling lazy, and you can do the same thing when your buddy falls into a similar mood.

Even if you start out walking alone, you may find plenty of company -- and potential walking partners -- out there. These days, more and more people are rediscovering the joys of walking.

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