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Why I Love Walking Challenges

Over the last few months, I have really gotten into walking challenges. I’d never done them before. I’ve done different weight loss challenges, water drinking challenges, step challenges, etc., but I’d never done a walking challenge before and I wasn’t really sure if I would like it. It sounded a little boring to me if I’m being honest. 

But, I decided to try it anyway! I thought, What’s the worst that can happen? I walk a little bit. That’s not a big deal. 

Turns out, I love it. I love walking challenges!

What is a walking challenge? 

A walking challenge Is basically where you decide you’re going to walk a certain number of times a week, a certain amount of time, or maybe even a certain pace, and then… you do it. You walk! 

For my walking challenges, I’ve been using an app called Waybetter. (They also have a desktop version, so you don’t have to download anything.) I like to use this app and I really like their platform. The app allows you to sync your fitness tracker and your Strava account. So for example, if you tracked a walk, it will know that you tracked a walk and they set a goal for you for a certain number of walks per week for a certain amount of time and a certain pace, which I like because that means it can’t cheat. 

I know with some challenges I’ve done with fitness trackers, you can just lay on the couch and move your arm around a bunch, it will count as walking. 😐 On the other hand, with the challenges I’ve been doing recently, you have to be moving for 30 minutes at a 25-minute mile pace, which isn’t fast, but it’s fast enough that I can’t just drag my feet around my apartment and count it as part of a walking challenge. 

Why did I start participating in walking challenges?

I started participating in these specific walking challenges this year because I wanted something different to shake up my fitness routine. I do a lot of high-impact activities; I teach five spin classes a week, I play volleyball twice a week, I started training for powerlifting, and it’s all a lot, but it can get a little boring sometimes to fall into a routine. 

How often do I participate in walking challenges?

While I’ve been participating in these challenges for a few months, I’ve been doing them off and on – I don’t always start a new one once the previous one ends. Sometimes, I just want a little break, maybe I want to do something different. Or maybe it accomplished the goal where I was feeling unmotivated or wanted to start a routine and it’s sort of sparked some motivation to do something completely different or to just get back into my routine or add a new lifting Day or something else to my routine. 

Why I love these challenges

One thing that I love the most about these walking challenges is accountability. That accountability could be with your friends, by yourself, putting up some money, or some other little prize.

Let’s say you get together with a group of friends and you just decide we are going to walk at lunchtime four times a week for 20 minutes and we’re going to talk on the phone or do a video chat when we do this walk. That’s one way to start your own walking challenge without using an app or any special technology. 

With the challenges I’ve done, you put in money and if you don’t hit your goal, you lose your money. If you hit your goal, you get your money back, plus you get your share of the pot of money from people who did not complete the challenge. Now, it’s not like you’re going to get rich off of doing walking challenges – unless you’re rolling with some high rollers – but it’s a nice little encouragement to get your money back and make a couple of extra bucks. 

How to spice up your walking challenge

In addition to the accountability, I mentioned that these challenges get me moving in a different way from my regular routine. Sometimes, when I go for a run, I’ll tack on a 30-minute walk at the end of my run to recover and explore. Other times, I’ll take a walk after a strenuous workout to cool down.

The exploring that I’ve been able to do while walking has been pretty great – an unexpected treat! I have walked to a local coffee shop, picked up some seasonal coffee drinks, and walked back home. I’ve also gotten in some great people-watching, took my time looking at all of the fall foliage, and even peeked at some new developments in the area. Going for a walk outdoors, taking my eyes away from screens, and maybe even catching up on podcast episodes have been great for my mental and physical health.

One seemingly unusual way I’ve spiced up my walking challenges is by taking long phone calls. I put my wireless headphones on and walk around my apartment at a pretty fast pace. Believe it or not, a lot of times I end up cleaning up around my apartment – including putting away my laundry!

The last way I’ve decided to level up my walks is by adding weights and other exercises. In the late spring, I bought a pair of Bala Bangles, and I like to wear them when I walk. If you wear them often for walks, when you take them off, you’ll you might notice that walking feels so much. If you want to add additional exercises, you could set a distance and do a specific set of exercises each time you reach that distance. For example, you do push-ups the first quarter mile, then jumping jacks the next quarter mile, etc. 

Health benefits of walking

There are so many health benefits to moving your body. I think that the walking challenges are a great way to hold yourself accountable, mix up your fitness routine, start a new fitness routine, and/or explore your neighborhood. Hey, maybe you’re even like me, and you can use it as an opportunity to get some more cleaning in or to catch up on podcasts you’ve been missing out on!

I recommend giving walking challenges a try. If you’ve never tried one, but decided to give it a go after reading this post, I’d love to hear your thoughts and review! Please let me know how you decided to do your walking challenge and whether you added any extra elements to your challenge.

Listen to The Sweat Fearlessy Podcast episode about walking challenges

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