Revitalize your walking workout with some of these ideas to mix things up and add enjoyment to your walk.
1. Penny walk
Flip a penny at each intersection (or stop sign, or every 2 blocks, etc.). If it lands on heads, turn right; if it lands on tails, turn left.
2. Roll the dice
Assign an action to each number on the die. At each intersection roll the die and do the assigned action. For example, 1 means turn left, 2 means turn right, 3 means go straight, 4 means do 10 squats, 5 means pick up the pace until you reach the next stop sign, 6 means hold your arms at shoulder level as you walk to the next intersection. Choose the activities that work for you.
3. Destination walk
Walk to a specific destination. Having a goal in mind can keep you motivated to go the distance. You can even choose a destination that helps you complete a task, like walking to the grocery store for a few items you need. Carrying the items back will build even more muscle.
4. Nature walk
Find a trail in nature, around a park, or along a beach, river, lake, or other area in nature to walk.
5. Scavenger hunt
Turn your walk into a scavenger hunt and bring your family and friends along. There are lots of ways to do this, here are a few:
- Alphabet walk – Try to find something that starts with every letter of the alphabet in order.
- Challenge walk – Make a list of small challenges and see who can perform the most (e.g., run up and down a hill, hop over a puddle, collect 10 leaves, spot 5 birds, balance on a curb, etc.)
- Spot it – Make a list of all the things you might spot on your walk and see who can spot all of them first (e.g., animals – dog, cat, squirrel, rabbit, frog, lizard, turtle, cow, horse, bug on a log, etc.; plants – tree, wildflower, vine, rosebush; manmade items – blue car, black mailbox, red door, white truck, bulldozer, crane, 3 story building, lawn mower, bicycle, etc.; imaginative items – cloud or rock in the shape of an animal, etc.).
- I Spy – One person says: “I spy with my little eye something —- (name a color).” Other(s) ask “yes” or “no” questions to guess the object (e.g., Is the item human, animal, yellow, up high, down low, edible, soft, hard, round, square, etc.?) You can set a limit on the number of questions that can be asked and take turns spying.
6. Switch it up
Find a new route to keep things interesting or walk your usual route backward. Try a new walking surface, such as dirt, grass, sand, or outdoor track surface. Walk the mall, try an indoor track, or hop on a treadmill.1
7. Learn your locale
Look for historic markers, historic homes, or call your Chamber of Commerce to see if there’s a historic route1 you can walk.
8. Try urban exploration
Live in an urban area? Discover new shops and cafes,1 or simply take in your surroundings more intentionally to see things you might not have noticed before. Consider the local architecture, color schemes and patterns around you. Notice street names, license plates, or lampposts. Choose something different to look for each time you go out to walk.
9. Develop a hobby
Do some bird-watching, plant identification, or photography along the way.1 Chart the weather or identify different automobile models. Discover architecture, landscaping, gardening, or outdoor home décor ideas while you walk.
10. Check off your to do list
Dictate an email, shopping list, blog post, or other writing assignment.1 This way you’ll accomplish two things at once – you’ll get some work done and your walking workout, too.
11. Clean it up
Bring along a bag or two and a pair of gloves. Help clean up your community by picking up litter and recyclables.
12. Add HIIT
Change your walking workout into a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout by adding intervals of faster and more moderate walking (e.g., walk moderately for 2-minutes, walk briskly for 1-minute, repeat; or use landmarks walking moderately to the next intersection, briskly past 10 mailboxes, moderately to the red truck, briskly to the end of the fence, etc.).
13. Go geocaching
Turn your walk into a geocaching adventure. “Geocaching is a type of global treasure hunt of people looking for caches, or hidden stashes of objects.”2 You can search for geocaches in your area online or with geocaching apps on your cell phone.
14. Add a circuit
Investigate parks in your community to find a fitness circuit. If possible, walk to the park, perform the circuit, and then walk back. If you can’t find a fitness circuit, find a park with a playground and play! Cross the monkey bars, use them for pull-ups or chin-ups, go up and down the steps, slide down the slide, have fun! You can also create your own circuit while you walk. Use a bench for incline push-ups or tricep dips, use a step and step up and down in quick succession for 30 seconds, balance on a curb for 15 steps, hop back-and-forth or side-to-side over a crack in the sidewalk, etc. – be creative!
15. Earn rewards
Set a few short-term and one or two long-term goals for yourself. Write them down along with how you’ll reward yourself when you meet each goal (preferably with non-food rewards, unless they’re healthy). Goal examples: Short-term: “I will walk 2 miles 5 days this week.” Long-term: “I will accumulate 50 miles by (specific date).” Reward ideas:
- fun water bottle
- fitness outfit, pair of walking shoes, or other fitness gear
- flowers, houseplant, or plants for your garden
- cookware or cooking utensil
- song, playlist, or audiobook
- take a nap
- enjoy a long bath
- take a day trip
- watch a movie
- visit the library for a new book
- take a class (art, photography, gardening, or healthy cooking class)
- take a selfie to celebrate!
16. Find a fun app
Beyond tracking your miles, steps, or other metrics, try some of these fun apps to motivate you to move more: Fantasy Hike, Fitness RPG, The Walk, Walkr, Walk the Distance, or World Walking. Look for other apps that pique your interest and motivate you to move more.
17. Make it pay
Sign up for an app that will pay you or a charity of your choosing to workout. What? Yes, you read that right. Apps like Charity Miles, Evidation, Fit For Bucks, Fitpotato, PK Rewards, Runtopia, StepBet, SweatCoin, and WinWalk will pay you (in cash, gift cards, or products) or your charity (by donation) to workout. There are many more options, so do a search for apps that appeal to you.
18. Add an event
To keep you motivated, sign up to walk a 5K, or even a half- or full- marathon. Sign up for a charity walk or use a charity fitness app to walk for a cause.
19. Bring a buddy (in person or virtually)
Invite someone to walk with you. This serves two purposes – it keeps things interesting and keeps you accountable. Even if your buddy lives afar, invite them along virtually, agreeing to walk and talk together; or, simply phone a friend and visit while you walk. To keep safety in mind, don’t look at your phone screen while you walk, and use your speaker or just one ear bud so that you can hear your surroundings.
20. Go it alone
Need some time to destress? Use your walk as a time to get away from other responsibilities. Observe what’s around you: Consider the sights, sounds, smells, and other sensations. Practice mindfulness, gratefulness, meditation, or prayer.
21. Listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks
Choose tunes that help you pick up your pace, keep you moving, calm your mind, or sooth your soul. Find a podcast or a few chapters in an audiobook that match your walking time1 or push you a bit past it to keep you motivated and moving.
22. Walk the dog (or someone else’s)
Walking your dog can be a great motivator, since they often wait by the door in anticipation. Don’t have a dog? That’s okay. Go along with a neighbor to walk theirs or help them out on occasion when they are unable to walk them. I’ve even known people to walk their cats on occasion.
23. Try Nordic walking
Adding Nordic walking poles will activate the muscles of your upper body during your walking workout. With Nordic walking “you’re engaging 80% to 90% of your muscles, as opposed to 50%, providing a substantial calorie-burning benefit.”3 Be sure to choose Nordic walking poles, which have a glove-like system attached to the pole (rather than hiking or trekking poles, which typically have a wrist strap and are used for more rugged terrain).3
24. Join a group
Look for a local walking group or club in your area. Consider the American Volkssport Association or the American Nordic Walking Association. If there’s not one near you, consider starting your own!
25. Join Walk Across Texas or the 10-10,000 Challenge
- Walk Across Texas is an 8-week program designed to help individuals establish the habit of regular physical activity. Each adult team may include up to 8 team members, all working together to walk the 832-mile goal, which they track individually as they walk (or do other physical activity) throughout each week.
- The 10-10,000 Challenge is a simple program for individuals. In the 10-10,000 Challenge, you progress gradually through 4 stages over 100 days toward and independent, sustainable, and healthy lifestyle. A simple web app kickstarts and helps you achieve the end goal of eating 7 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables, as well as walking 10,000 steps per day. Complete 3 tip task videos during each stage to help you change your behavior for the better.
Whatever you choose, find what you enjoy and what motivates you to keep moving toward a healthy lifestyle.
- Pacer Health, Inc.19 easy tricks to make your walks more fun & interesting. The Pacer Blog: Walking, Health and Fitness. https://blog.mypacer.com/19-easy-tricks-to-make-your-walks-more-fun-interesting/. Published March 28, 2020. Accessed March 13, 2023.
- National Geographic Society. Geocaching. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/geocaching/. Published May 20, 2022. Accessed March 13, 2023.
- Harvard University. Fitness trend: Nordic Walking. Harvard Health https://www.health.harvard.edu/exercise-and-fitness/fitness-trend-nordic-walking. Published June 29, 2022. Accessed March 13, 2023.