On April 6, the American Heart Association (AHA) will kick off National Walking Day to rally everyone — individuals, friends, families, neighborhoods, communities, schools, and workplaces — to join together and walk for health and fun.
Even though this "holiday" begins on a Wednesday, the goal is to continue this trend each Monday. Why Monday? Because the first day of the workweek has been shown to be the ideal day to begin working toward a new goal — you're more likely to follow through with it.
The Monday Mile program is already a staple among employees at three universities — Syracuse, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins.
"We started the last week of September and we've walked every Monday since," says Shavise Glascoe, exercise physiologist at the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore. "The only Monday we skipped was when we had a big blizzard and the world was shut down!"
The best part is how easy it is to incorporate walking into your day. Here, Glascoe gives us a few quick pointers for making walking a regular part of your life:
How to Start Walking and Stay Motivated
1. Make it like an appointment and schedule it on your calendar.
"This will especially work on-the-job because you have that peer support — they're right there with you, which makes you accountable," Glascoe says.
2. Suggest walking meetings with your colleagues.
Walking meetings have been practiced by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, President Obama, and the late Steve Jobs. Just make sure you have an indoor back-up route for bad weather days.
"Either you or someone in your group needs to figure out one mile of walking inside a building," Glascoe says, who suggests using a fitness tracker. "And don't forget the stairs!"
3. Most importantly, pick up the speed.
"An interesting way I explain to people in terms of pace is walk as if you have somewhere to go, walk as if you are running late to an appointment," Glascoe says. "Walk with that pace versus the trees-are-beautiful-today pace."
A brisk walk not only burns calories — it can also amp up your stamina.
"Instead of having that 3 o'clock fatigue kick in that we try to mask with another cup of coffee, a walk can help boost energy," she says.