So why should you jump into a walking challenge? What are the benefits? Is a walking challenge worth it for fitness goals? Whether you’re walking for fitness, stress relief, or just trying to explore your neighborhood, walking is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle.
This walking challenge started earlier this year but I just got round to uploading this article.
I started this challenge randomly in April. I was stressed out one day and went on a walkabout to clear my mind. I enjoyed it so much, I never stopped and turned it into a challenge for the year.
Walking for 30 minutes, three days a week at a fast pace can be life-changing for your mental and physical health.
Start at an easy pace on flat ground then build up to walking up stairs, hills as well as in different weather conditions – sand and snow.
What is a Walking Challenge?
A walking challenge usually involves collaboration with people involving walking goals with the aim of improving fitness and cardiovascular health.
A walking challenge can be for a few days, weeks, months, or a whole year. It can be along the same route or different routes over the time frame of the challenge.
A walking challenge can even be in a big mall or racing track plus lots of cities have walking trails you can explore.
The walking challenge goals are dependent on you or the group involved in the challenge.
9 Benefits of a Walking Challenge
1. Walking Improves Mental Health
I started walking to reset my mind after a stressful day and the effects were so nice, I just kept on going with it even though I work out every day already.
Walking improves the move, boosts energy levels, relieves stress and anxiety, and helps recenter your mind, body, and spirit.
2. Explore Your Environment
A walking challenge is a good way to explore your neighborhood and become familiar with the various nooks and crannies of your hood.
You might even make a few new friends in the course of your walking challenge.
3. Quiet Time to Yourself With Walking
Walking is a great way to enjoy some quiet time and feel at peace with everything around you.
You can focus on the beauty around you and remove yourself and your mind from the hustle and bustle of daily life and the rat race.
4. Develop Endurance
A walking challenge is a great way to build endurance for other activities and improve coordination.
Walking also builds the muscles in your legs, thighs, butt, and back. This will help with getting through tough home workouts.
5. Lose Weight Effectively
This isn’t number 1 because this is a byproduct of the walking challenge. With a walking challenge, you can lose weight more effectively especially when combined with regular workouts.
6. Organize Your Mind
A walking challenge provides incredible clarity of mind that helps you put things together, come up with ideas and unclog your mind if you’re having a block.
7. Saves Money
A walking challenge definitely saves a ton of money. All you need are your regular workout clothes and good pair of trainers and you’re good to go.
No money for the gym, equipment, or trainer. It’s the cheapest form of exercise and the easiest to get into.
8. Easy to Get Started
Walking is a low-impact exercise that can be done at any time of the day and doesn’t require much effort.
Just put on your trainers and get going at your own pace. You have zero excuses not to get started with a walking challenge.
9. Numerous Health Benefits for Your Body
Walking is a weight-bearing exercise and the benefits translate into excellent cardiovascular health and reduced risk of heart disease. Other health benefits of walking include:-
- Better management of high blood pressure
- Better management of joint and muscular stiffness
- Stronger hone density
- Sleep better at night if you have issues with insomnia
- Reduces the risk of depression
As you can see, walking provides key health benefits and will help to boost your mood while also providing an increased energy level.
How Long Should You Walk?
This is completely dependent on your current fitness levels, your fitness goals, and how much time you have.
I started with 45 minutes at a leisurely pace. I am now at 2 hours at a brisk space with arms swinging. You can check out my walking data below.
Aim for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week to begin your walking challenge then scale accordingly.
Walking Challenge Gear
Though a walking challenge saves money, you still need some basic gear to get started.
By the way, if you know someone starting a walking challenge, this walking gear also makes great fitness gifts.
A walking journal is a great way to document your walking challenge and encourage yourself to keep going until you meet your goals.
I recommend Large Walking Log Book For Men and Women.
You want walking shoes that fit properly with a comfortable arch and heel support. This is the most important walking gear.
Bad walking shoes can cause shin pain, lower back pain, blisters, and soft tissue injuries.
I love my Nike walking shoes but some other great recommendations include:-
- The North Face Women’s Hedgehog Fastpack Hiker
- ASICS Women’s Gel-Quickwalk 3 Walking Shoe
- OOFOS OOmg Low Shoe – Lightweight Recovery Footwear
- Vionic Women’s Vasher Aris Leisure Sneakers
- Orthofeet Orthopedic Walking Shoes
This helps you track your walk, monitor your heart rate, and more. This funky watch from Garmin comes in 4 colors and fits most wrists.
Reflective Safety Gear for Walking Challenge
If you’re going to be walking late in the evening or at night, you definitely need reflective safety gear so you’re clearly visible on the roads.
The Nathan LightSpur Reflective Light can be clipped easily around your sneakers and flash different colors. They are also waterproof.
This is dependent on your location. In a tropical country, you wouldn’t need this but in windy, rainy and snowy places, a walking jacket is a good idea.
The walking jacket should be waterproof and windproof yet still keeps you warm and sweat-free in chilly weather. Some great walking jacket recommendations include:-
- Little Donkey Andy Women’s Breathable Lightweight Jacket
- Wantdo Women’s Hooded Packable Ultra Light Weight Jacket
- C9 Champion Women’s Full Zip Cardio Jacket
- Bingerlily Full Zip Athletic Running Jacket
Walking gloves are also location-dependent and you need a good pair to protect your hands if you’re going to be walking in chilly weather.
You can view a wide range of chilly weather gloves HERE.
Running Belt for Walking Challenge
I walk with my phone, a mask, hand sanitizer, and house keys and I don’t want to put those in my pockets so I use a handy running belt for this.
It goes securely around my body. It’s lightweight and small so it doesn’t get in the way while walking.
Some great running belt recommendations for walking include:-
Some running belts also have reflective materials on them.
Ankle or Wrist Weights for Walking Challenge
These are optional but can be a personal challenge for yourself to increase the intensity of your workouts.
Wearable weights also help you build strength and stamina and burn more calories.
These Gaiam Ankle Weights are stylish and come in two colors.
Walking Challenge Results
Below is a screenshot of my health data from the month I started my walking challenge (May) and my health data as of August.
Even though I’m fit, I still built up to it slowly to get my body used to the new form of exercise.
My walking challenge goal for 2021 is 25,000 steps per walk up to 3 times a week by the end of the year.
Walking Challenge Apps
There are some great walking challenge apps available on iOS and Android devices.
Some of the popular walking challenge apps include:-
- Apple Health – available on iOS and works with and without an Apple Watch. The app tracks steps, distance walked, walking speed, step length, and more.
- Google Fit – available on iOs and Android. The app monitors your walking activities and tells you how many calories you’ve burned.
- Charity Miles – available on iOs and Android. Every mile you walk is tracked on the app and a donation is made to a charity of your choice. There are 40 charities to choose from.
- Walkmeter – available on iOs and Android. This is an excellent app for solo walkers. Apart from tracking your walking activities, this app also enables you to share your current location with friends and family.
- StepsApp – available on iOs and Android. This app has a minimalistic design that provides your walking stats in a straightforward way.
- All Trails – available on iOs and Android. This app shares more than 100,000 walking trails around the world. You can narrow it down to your location, intensity level, and more. You can then follow the trail you’ve set out on your phone so you don’t get lost along the way.
- MapMyWalk – available on iOs and Android. You can map out your routes using Google Maps and view the routes of people walking near you. It syncs up with your fitness tracker too.
Most of the apps are free while some require a purchase or paid subscription to access premium features.
Other Ways to Get Walking into Your Lifestyle
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your lifestyle might not permit you to get more than 30 minutes into your walking challenge.
This is where these tips come in. Use them to get more walking into your life. Your walking app tracks all your steps through the day:-
- Use the stairs instead of the lift.
- When driving, park some distance away and walk the rest of the way.
- When using public transportation, get off one or two stops before your destination and walk the rest of the way.
- Walk with your dog.
- Walk to the grocery store if it’s not that far away.
6 Tips for Succeeding at a Walking Challenge
- If you haven’t worked out in a while, you should do a medical check-up before starting any fitness regimen.
- Stretch your legs before and after the walk.
- Take breaks in-between walking. I slow down to a stroll for 5 minutes every 30 minutes then pick up the pace afterward.
- Drink loads of water as soon as you get back home. Some people take a bottle of water with them on the walk as well. The point here is to stay hydrated. This is very important.
- Choose different walking trails and paths so you don’t get bored and give up.
- If it’s crazy sunny, don’t forget a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
- Check the weather forecast before each walk. You don’t want to be caught in rain, wind, a heatwave, or a thunderstorm.
FAQs About a Walking Challenge
How to Keep Track of a Walking Challenge?
The apps especially provide very detailed breakdowns every time you walk including step measurements and how to improve your walk.
How Much Weight Can You Lose Walking?
The number of calories you burn while walking depends on how long you walk and the walking pace.
Aim to walk at a brisk pace with your arms swinging. This is more effective than walking leisurely.
You will also meet your weight loss goals faster if you do a solo walk challenge.
How Many Steps Can You Take in an Hour?
This also depends on your pace. Walking at a brisk pace with 2 breaks in the hour, I walked 6,000 steps so far.
Is it Okay to Walk with My Dog?
Walking with your dog is great. You both get a good workout. However, your dog may need more breaks than humans and won’t be able to match your walking pace all through.
The best thing about a walking challenge – once you make it a habit, it becomes an amazing lifestyle change for you!
A walking challenge is an easy way to get some exercise and achieve your fitness goals.
I will upload a new post about my walking challenge every month till the end of the year for accountability and to motivate you if you decide to start a walking challenge.
Start walking today! If you have any questions about starting a walking challenge, drop them in the comments section.
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