Walking 10,000 steps is a great way to burn calories, get a basic level of fitness, get out and about and even extend your lifespan but let’s face it, walking 10,000 steps a day can also be REALLY boring. So, how do you liven things up – well, here’s 23 ideas for walking activities, and other ways, to make walking less boring that you might want to try as part of your walking routine…
Why Should You Walk?
Because it has a lot of health benefits. Let’s start with the fact that walking is THE best exercise for raising your energy – it revs you up but doesn’t leave you super tired out. On top of that, new research suggests that taking 7000 steps a day increases the chance of living a longer life by 50-70 percent, and taking just 2000 steps more than you do now can reduce your risk of heart disease by eight percent.
If you burn the same number of calories doing it, walking is just as effective in reducing risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease as running, say US researchers – but you’re more likely to keep walking up. In a study at the University of Florida only 20 percent walkers stop their workouts compared to 50 percent of runners.
The more you can walk the better, but, the more you walk, the more bored of your routes or the experience you can become which is where we come in with our list of fun walking activities …
How to Make Walking Less Boring
There are a few different ways to make walking less dull. You can shake up your route or what you see while you walk, or you can engage your brain so that where you’re walking isn’t actually that important any more because you’re having fun noticing new things about it, or not thinking about it at all – and there’s a lot of ways to make that happen.
Some of them, like the first two ideas are great ideas of ways to make walking with friends or children more interesting, others like gratitude walking or problem solving are better ideas of things to do when walking alone, but whichever you pick, you’ll be adding more steps in no time.
1. Go Geocaching
In geocaching you use an app to find things people have hidden in plain sight all over the globe. There’s an entire community devoted to the pastime and thousands of caches hidden in cities, parks and woods.
If you just want to sign up and get started, then find out more about the geocaching app here.
Or, to find out exactly how to play and, get some great tips for beginners have a look at this longer post on geocaching.
2. Try Some Pareidolia
Or, as we like to call it seeing faces in the strangest places. Once you start trying to do this you’ll be amazed at how many things actually look like faces, from front doors to fire hydrants, clouds to cracks in concrete – and lots more in between.
The cuter they get, the happier your walk!
3. Left, Right Walk
Can’t decide where to go? Then don’t. Instead either right a list of directions – left, right, right, left, right, right, left, left on a piece of paper and, set off. Whenever you get bored of the road you’re walking down you take the turn listed on the paper to decide which way to go next .
Or, flip a coin – heads is left, tails is right. Or check the time, if the last number is even got left, odd, go right.
Obviously only do this in areas that you know well so you don’t end up wandering somewhere unsafe.
4. Try a Photographic Treasure Hunt
In this walk, you basically decide on 10-15 things you’re going to attempt to find on your walk – and just wander around until you tick them all off.
You can take photos on the way, or just tick them off on your phone (or even a piece of paper if you’re more old school).
Need some ideas of what to put on your list, have a look at this post.
5. Cross the Road
One of the biggest issues with walking regularly is at least part of your walk is always in the same place as you have to leave your house to get started and that make summoning up the enthusiasm to head out harder but all it takes to look at your walk from a new perspective and make it a bit more exciting. is to literally walk on the other side of the road from normal.
Try it, or try reversing your route so you go the other way from normal and you really do change up the way you see things.
6. Take a Gratitude Walk
This idea seems you walking while either listing all the things you are grateful for in your life, or, trying to spot things on your walk that make you feel grateful.
They don’t have to be big things, even just spotting a bee and thinking about how much good they do for us counts.
It’s rare you’ll come back from a gratitude walk not feeling a little bit better about the world and your place in it. For more explanation on how and why it works, check out this longer post on gratitude walks.
7. Try Cultural Counting
I got this idea from my friend Arian who told me that when she lived in Japan the way she learned to count in Japanese was basically to count the steps to the station. It also works for other repetitive patterns like days of the week, months of the year and even conjugating verbs.
All you need to do is walk and with each step you repeat the words. This might also help you learn them as when we do rhythmic movement like walking our brain actually produces growth factors that encourage learning.
8. Go at a Different Time of Day
Another very easy way to totally shake things up. If you always walk at 9am, get up early and walk at sunrise, or postpone things and walk as the sun sets.
You’ll see the area in a whole new light – literally and figuratively. It’s amazing how quiet a city can be early in the morning – or, how many dogs there are to watch at 5pm.
9. Go Plogging
Plogging began in Sweden and the world is technically a combination of the words jogging and plocka upp, which is Swedish for picking up but you don’t need to run to do it. In fact, it’s probably better while walking.
The idea is simple – as you walk (ideally wearing gloves), if you see any rubbish as you do so, you collect it in a bag and then throw it away at the end.
It’s good for you and good for the environment, what’s not to like?
10. Do a Walking Meditation
In a true walking meditation you actually walk up and down for 10-15 paces in the same spot over and over again. At the end of your circuit you pause and breathe in and out slowly. Then repeat.
Throughout the whole thing you focus solely on the movement of your body through the steps. How you lift your legs, how your foot rolls through the movement, which of your muscles switch on and off, your breathing, how you arms move. The idea is that by focusing on the steps, rather than your thoughts you live totally in the moment.
It might not sound like the most exciting way to walk for ten minutes but the benefits of mindful meditation are huge so you’ll get a lot more from this than just adding to your steps total.
If you really can’t bear the idea of walking up and down in the same spot, that’s okay, you can also try it while moving.
11. Or A Five Senses Walk
If you find a proper walking meditation hard, a simpler version is a five senses walk. In this you focus on each sense rather than just your movement. What can you feel, what can you hear, what can you see, what can you taste and what can you smell. Choose one and focus on it for a whole minute, then move to the next one. If any thoughts come up, just let them go.
12. Dance Walking
If walking meditation is a way of getting you to think about your walking, this is completely the opposite, you’re forgetting about it. It’s also a great substitute for a walk if it’s too cold or wet outside to enjoy it.
In dance walking you basically carry out your 10,000 steps to music in your own home, a la a 1980s aerobics class. You take steps to the left, steps to the right, backwards, forewards, you grapevine, you hop in between them, clap at the end, take big steps, small steps.
Basically it’s a low impact workout that you can do at any ability or any fitness.
You’ll find a selection of them on YouTube – Brand Fitness has a huge selection.
13. Add Some Fartlek
Fartlek is a running technique also known as speed play – but you can use it while walking too.
The idea is that you alternate your normal steady pace with bursts of speed walking, but, unlike techniques like intervals where you set a time to stick at each part of your session, with fartlek you just go as the mood takes you for as long as you feel.
It might just be to the next tree, or for a full 3-4 minutes. You just go when and for as long as you feel like. It’s a great way to build up your fitness as well as get in extra steps.
14. Colour Walking
Colour walking isn’t just fun, it can also be used to change your mood or create a different style of thinking.
The idea is that before you go out, you think of a colour and, then, while you walk you aim to try and spot it in as many places as possible – the more unusual the better.
If you want to change the way you think in some way though, you can choose a colour shown to have certain effects on the brain. Here’s some ideas.
15. Spot One New Thing
Another way to liven things up a bit if you walk the same place every day – just try and spot on new thing on each walk.
It might be something that’s actually not been there before – like a new flower that’s just bloomed in a garden, or a new shop that’s opened up on the main road. Or, just something you’ve never paid attention to before like the colour of a neighbour’s front door.
16. Use the Bus
If you’re bored with starting your walk at the same place all the time, then jump on the bus to get started. You don’t even have to go very far, even just 3-4 stops will give you a new starting point and a new perspective.
Or, head further afield and walk somewhere you’ve never been then get the bus back.
17. Help Others
The app Charity Miles uses data like your Fitbit, Strava or Apple Health to log your steps and, each of them earns money for a charity. The more you walk, the more they get. How could you get bored knowing that?
18. Take a Tour
If you live in a city that has a tourists, why not take a walking tour one day. You’ll learn about the city in which you live and rack up some steps. You could choose a paid tour for something you’re interested in like street art or architecture, or, in a lot of cities there’s a free welcome to the city type tour. All you pay is a tip at the end.
19. C,W,P – city, water, park
Aim to walk in or by all three different types of scenery throughout your week to liven things up – even the most beautiful view can fail to inspire you if you see it all the time. Take a break from a beach walk to do an urban stroll or go somewhere green if you normally pound the pavements.
If you’re not near the sea or a river, even adding in a pond or a fountain can help you get the good vibes you get from walking near water.
20. Go on The Walk
The Walk is an app created by the team behind the popular running app Zombie’s Run and it basically sees you walking around the UK to deliver a package that could save the world.
Find it on the app store, download it and set off on your adventure.
21. Listen to Podcasts or Audiobooks
It’s not going to win any prizes for originality, but, it will help pass your walk time. Especially if something good happens and you need to carry on until the next chapter. Try a subscription to Audible so you never run out of things to listen to.
You don’t have to listen to fiction, you can listen to self improvement books or if you’re planning a side hustle then pick books or podcasts that you can learn from as you walk – then you won’t feel like you’re ‘wasting time’ as you get your steps in.
22: Explore Something
It might be an outdoor sight like the local cemetery, a garden or even just the streets of a part of town you’ve never been to before, but, there’s also no rules to say you can’t rack up steps while window shopping in the mall, appreciating art at the local art gallery or wandering around a castle, stately home or even theme park!
23. Solve a Problem
As we said, the rhythm of walking actually unlocks the creative part of your brain and helps you think, so, once a week, go on a problem-solving walk where you let your mind wander on how to tackle a problem – it doesn’t have to be any thing too big or upsetting, even trying to replan your kitchen cupboards to make more space works.
Personally, I come up with most of my blog or article ideas when I’m walking – I used to even take a pencil with me to scribble them down or ring my answerphone and leave myself a message for any really good ones! Thank heaven for smartphones.
So, there you go that’s our list of some fun walking activities that can help make your walk more interesting. Do you have any more to suggest? What do you do to make your walk less boring? Drop a note in the comments in case other people might want to try it too.