This week’s article is only for half the planet. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, this won’t resonate. For the other half it will.
January 1 is a TERRIBLE time to start walking for fitness!
Whoever thought that New Year’s Day was a great time to walk start walking 10,000 steps a day was probably drunk. The weather in much of the Northern Hemisphere in January and February is brutal. It’s also demotivating. That’s probably one of the reasons so few New Year’s goals make it past two weeks.
Who wants to do walk outside when you’re frozen breath is mocking every step you take?
But, now that the weather is starting to change, now is a much better time to start walking for fitness.
First off, while 10,000 steps is a good goal, it’s a terrible starting goal. Most of us would have to add an extra hour of walking every day to reach the number. Instead, your starting goal should simply be to establish a walking habit or routine.
If you’ve spent most of the winter in hibernation, let’s keep it easy at the beginning and slowly build your fitness capacity. How does a daily ten minute walk sound? It might even sound like it’s not enough.
Actually, ten-minutes a day is pretty close to the CDC recommended minimum for moderate level activity. We should be aiming for between 150 to 300 minutes every week. If you walk at 3mph for 22 minutes every day, you’ll reach 150 minutes for the week. So, a ten-minute walk gets you halfway there. You can pick up the remaining 12 minutes as you build some momentum.
But, first let’s establish the daily routine.
For most of us, a ten-minute walk is a pretty easy thing to do. But, occasionally, we hit a day that feels hard. The weather (even spring weather) feels unwelcoming, the calendar is overcrowded, or we’re just too tired. Those are the days we need a little extra motivation.
There’s a podcast for that. It’s the companion for this blog, “Walking is Fitness”. I’ve made the commitment to walk every day and record the first ten-minutes so we can walk together. It provides that extra boost of motivation when you just don’t feel like keeping that fitness promise you made to yourself.
The days are getting longer, the temperature is rising, and spring is starting to bloom. This is a much better time to begin walking for fitness than January 1. It’s time to get moving! Would you join me every day for a ten minute walk?
And, for those of you living in the Southern Hemisphere facing the onslaught of autumn and then winter? We up north, feel your pain.