Put one foot in front of the other and get strolling with these tips!

Once you know how to start a walking routine, you’re ready to go!The hardest part of establishing any new habit is getting started in the first place! If you’re thinking about how to start a walking routine, we have some great tips to get you strolling safely.

  1. Get your doctor’s advice
  2. Choose a safe walking route
  3. Warm up with stretches
  4. Find a friend or group to walk with
  5. Wear visibility gear
  6. Track your progress
  7. Sign up for walking events

Keep reading to learn how to start a walking routine!

Get your doctor’s advice
Whenever you’re planning to start a new exercise routine, it’s important to get a medical professional’s perspective. Depending on your personal health, it’s likely your doctor will encourage regular walking, but they may have advice like how many miles are okay to start with or whether there are any extra considerations to keep in mind for your unique situation (heart conditions, joint issues, etc.).

Choose a safe walking route
Following pedestrian safety rules is essential if you’re planning to walk on a road or sidewalk. Keep an eye on traffic and cyclists and look both ways before making any crossings. When walking on the road, the rule of thumb is to walk against traffic, so you can react faster if they’re distracted or aren’t giving you enough space. Nature trails and parks are other terrific options for your walks — just do a little research on local wildlife if you’re in a rural area.

Warm up with stretches
A pre-walk stretching routine can help limber you up, prime your joints and muscles for activity, and decrease any post-walk soreness. Try some of these walking stretches, including hamstring stretches, hip flexors, calf stretches, and more.

Find a friend or group to walk with
Why not multitask and give your social and emotional health a boost along with the physical? Walking with a friend or meeting a local group is a great way to nourish meaningful social connections. The time will pass quickly as you talk, laugh, and enjoy the sights of the outdoors together.

Wear visibility gear
This tip is especially important if you’re walking in the early morning or evening, when the light is dimmer, to make sure motorists can see you. Bright clothes, reflective strips, or headlamps are a couple of great options. You can often find these in athletic stores or the sporting goods section of a department store.

Track your progress
Keeping track of your walking progress is great for a number of reasons! It lets you steadily increase how many steps and miles you’re accumulating, shows whether your pace is increasing, estimates your heart rate and calories burned, and so on. Informational and motivational at the same time! Try downloading one of these free workout apps or getting a wearable fitness tracker.

Sign up for walking events
Charities and awareness groups often host walking events to raise funds and support for their cause. Our personal favorite is HLAA’s Walk4Hearing, which happens spring and fall in communities nationwide. They partner with state organizations and local nonprofits to donate funds to hearing loss support resources and awareness campaigns. Check out our previous posts about the annual Walk4Hearing event here!

When you’re first learning how to start a walking routine, it’s fine to start slow and add more distance or speed as you feel more comfortable. If it’s a rainy or snowy day and you don’t feel like walking outdoors, try one of these ways to stay active indoors.

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