Wake Up Your Walk

New toys and tricks can help you look forward to your walking time even more. Here are ideas to get you revved up to move.

Walking is one of the easiest ways to get in shape. Just lace up your shoes and off you go. Trouble is, just like any repetitive activity, it can get boring. What to do? Try spicing up your walking program with these six tricks and tools.

Plug into a fitness playlist

Studies have found that exercising to music can help you go longer, boost your mood, and make exercise feel easier. So treat yourself to some new music and create a playlist of your favorite songs. Or visit sites like workoutmusic.commotiontraxx.com, or walk.jog.fm to download playlists based on activity and beats per minute. 

Donate your miles

Why not raise money for charity as you walk? Try, for instance, a free iPhone and Android app called Charity Miles. Launch the app, choose your charity (from nine options), and then start walking. For every mile you walk, that charity earns 25 cents. Or just put $1 in a jar every day you walk; after a specified period, donate that money to your favorite charity. It’s a little extra inspiration to get out the door.

Track your activity

You know how motivating it can be to track your daily step count. (Most experts recommend shooting for 10,000 steps a day for optimal health.) You can take it a step further and use an activity tracker, such as Body Media or Fitbit. Along with tracking your steps, this type of device logs your total daily activity and calorie burn; all of your data can then be uploaded to a computer so you can chart your progress. An associated website may also offer food journals and weight tracking.

Reverse your route

Change is always refreshing for the mind and body, which is why you’ll benefit from finding new walking routes. Even easier? Walk your current route in the reverse direction. “You’ll be amazed how that simple change makes it feel like a whole new walk,” says Linda Lemke, a Nordic walking instructor, fitness walker, and outdoor recreation specialist in Minneapolis.

Use a walking app

If you’re a tech-savvy walker, apps can keep you motivated over the long haul. One that Linda’s clients love is MapMyWalk, which can map, record, and share your routes and workouts. You can also search for new routes, log food intake, and access fitness calculators. Or try WalkJogRun to create or find exercise routes (there are more than 1.5 million routes worldwide and 23 training plans).

Try Nordic walking

It might look goofy, but walking with specially designed poles engages 30 percent more of your body than traditional walking does, says Lemke. The payoff: You’ll burn more calories. “Plus, because you get into a rhythm with the poles, time passes quickly,” she says. To buy Nordic walking poles or learn more about the sport, head to leki.com or nordicbody.com.