7. Find shoes made for walkin’: Daunted by endless options? Remember that a comfortable fit is the most important factor in a walking shoe, says Dreyer. Quick tip: Try shoes on with extra thick socks, which simulates how much your feet could swell when you walk for longer distances.
8. Set an intention before your takeoff: Decide to dedicate your walk to something specific, suggests Jessica Smith, a personal trainer in Miami Beach, Fla. Your intention might be to increase your awareness of your breath or increase feelings of love toward a friend. Recalling your dedication can help you keep going when you feel like slowing down or giving up.
9. Get goal-oriented: This tried-and-true advice bears repeating here: If you have an end-point in sight—whether it’s a 5K race or a three-day breast cancer walk—you’ll be more likely to stay motivated and be consistent with your training.
10. Kick off your kicks: Every so often, take a barefoot walk. It may feel weird at first, but this subtle change can pay off big. “Walking on grass or sand can help you burn more calories, improve your balance and strengthen your foot and ankle muscles,” says Smith.
11. Add some intervals: Increase your speed for brief “bursts” during a walk and you can double your calorie burn, says Smith. Use either time (alternate between three minutes at a steady pace and one minute at a speed walk) or landmarks (pick up the pace when you hit every fourth telephone pole) for cues. And use your breath as a gauge to make sure you’re working as hard as you can during these bursts of speed. Your breathing should change from a quick, steady pattern to a panting pace during intervals.
12. Incorporate a circuit: Carry a resistance band (get one with handles) and every 10 minutes, stop to do one of these multimuscle moves, says Smith: Overhead press and squat Stand on the resistance band with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Holding the handles of the band at your shoulders, squat down; when you come back up to stand, press your arms above your head. Do three sets of 12 reps. Balancing triceps press Stand on the band with your right foot in the middle, balancing with your left knee bent at 90 degrees, foot behind you (your knees should touch). Hold each handle of the band behind your head, keeping elbows bent and close to your head, biceps alongside your ears. Extend your hands to the sky as you do a modified one-legged squat, bending your right knee until the left toe touches the ground. Repeat 12 times and switch sides.