What's Your Walking Excuse?

How to Overcome the 10 Most Common Walking Excuses

Why aren't you walking? What excuse is keeping you from stepping out the door or onto the treadmill? You've found the right place. These excuse busters will exorcise your exercise excuses.

1
Excuse: "I'm Too Busy to Walk"

Woman tying shoe on park bench
AzmanL/Getty Images

You have work, school, cooking, cleaning, shopping, kids, laundry. There isn't enough time to do everything. How are you supposed to fit in 30 minutes of walking to meet the minimum requirement for health How can you sneak in enough steps so your Fitbit friends aren't leaving you in the dust?

How to Bust the "I'm Too Busy" Walking Excuse

  • Commit to a walking time: Put your walking time on your calendar. Add it to your smartphone calendar with the repeating time, you only have to add it once for it to prompt you every day. Or, you can go old-school and write it in your day planner and set a manual alarm clock.
  • Invite others: Invite your family, co-workers, and friends to join you. You'll have the social pressure to keep the commitment. Walking together is perfect for social multi-tasking and having conversations with your kids, spouse or friends. The time away from screens will be welcome for making real connections.
  • Work walking into your chores: Instead of stopping on the way home from work to do errands, walk to the market and post office and carry things back in a backpack. Walk to and from a restaurant in the evening. Walk the kids to school instead of driving them. You'll have peace and quiet on your walk back to prepare for the rest of the day.
  • Sneak walking into a busy day: Walk during your breaks and lunch at work, or go for a quick walk at home while a pot is stewing. Although it is best to walk for a half hour or more continuously, sneaking in a couple of 10- to 15-minute walks burns calories and gets you into the habit of exercising. It's one way that health authorities recommend achieving 30 minutes per day of moderate-intensity exercise, by breaking it up into bouts of 10 minute or more.

2
Excuse: "I'm Too Tired to Walk"

Woman napping on couch
Stanton j Stephens/Getty Images

It's time for your walk but you are tired. You didn't get enough sleep, or you're worn out from work and other activities.

How to Bust the "I'm Too Tired to Walk" Excuse:

  • Don't sit down, don't lie down, don't dally over a cup of coffee. But do have a good drink of water and a snack so you aren't dehydrated or starting on empty.
  • Get started: Don't let yourself know that you are actually going to walk. Don't think about it as you tie on your shoes and head out the door. Don't wake up your tired brain. Once you are walking, it is amazing how the fatigue goes away.
  • Still tired? If the fatigue isn't gone or is worse after 15 minutes, you may be coming down with a cold or may be overtraining. Finish your walk, drink lots of water and take care of yourself. If you haven't had a rest day, take a rest day tomorrow.

3
Walking Excuse: "It's Too Cold"

Cold Weather Walking
Cold Weather Walking. Andrew Rich/E+/Getty Images

Is your walking excuse that it's too cold to walk outdoors? A nip in the air can nip your desire to walk. Slipping and falling on ice or snow is a real safety concern.

How Bust the Excuse That It's Too Cold to Walk

  • Dress in Layers: Dress right for the cold in layers, with a hat and gloves. Start with a sweat-wicking long-sleeved top, then an insulating layer of fleece, wool, or down, and a windproof jacket. You can add a muffler or wear a balaclava or Buff to protect your neck. How to dress for cold weather walking
  • Keep Your Toes Warm: Use these tricks to keep your feet warm. The simplest one is to tuck a paper napkin between the top of your foot and the upper part of the shoe.
  • Keep Your Hands Warm: Gloves are good, but mittens are even better. Also use a chemical handwarmer packet to keep your fingers unfrozen.
  • Chains for Your Shoes: Wear foot traction devices such as slip-on cleats that work with your regular walking shoes or boots.
  • Walking Poles for Stability: If it's slippery enough to wear foot traction, it's wise to add a pair of walking poles to your winter walking ensemble.
  • Treadmill Time! It may not be ideal if you prefer walking outdoors, but it can get you through the winter. Tips for finding free/bargain treadmills to use
  • Walk Indoors: Find an indoors track, or join the mall walkers. Use the corridors of large buildings as your walking path. If all else fails, you circle your house or apartment. It's amazing how many steps you can put in circling the kitchen table while watching television.

4
Excuse: "It's Raining"

Walking Your Dog in the Rain
Walking Your Dog in the Rain. AJ_Watt/E+/Getty Images

Is your walking excuse that it's raining and you don't walk in the rain? Walking in the rain can be unpleasant, or you can change your attitude and go singing in the rain.

How to Bust the Excuse and Walk in the Rain

 You may be the sweetest person on earth, but you aren't made of sugar and you won't melt in the rain. Use these tactics.

  • There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather, Just Inadequate Gear: You can stay dry underneath if you wear the right waterproof gear, at least for shorter walks. If nothing else, those cheap plastic rain ponchos from the dollar store will work.
  • Umbrella: An umbrella is an easy and simple solution for a moderate stroll. Look for a windproof design and one with a comfortable grip.
  • You are Drip-Dry: Sometimes bare limbs are better than wet fabric. If it's warm enough, just go walking and experience the rain. You can change into dry clothes afterward.
  • Plan Your Reward: Set out the bath oil and aromatherapy candles and have the cocoa ready to make when you get back. Nothing feels better than a warm terrycloth robe after a great walk in the rain.
  • Take in the Fresh Sensations: How does the rain feel on your face and as it drains from your arms and hands? Listen to the sounds rain creates around you. Stick out your tongue and taste the rain. Look around you at the drops on the leaves and flowers. Sunny is boring. Rainy is interesting and makes for great photos.
  • Walk Indoors: You don't have to walk in the rain if you don't want to. But you still need to exercise. Walk indoors on the treadmill, in the mall, at an indoors track, or walk the halls of large buildings.

5
Excuse: "It's Too Hot"

Water Bottle and Pack for Walking Tours
Water Bottle and Pack for Walking Tours. Scott Hortop/E+/Getty Images

Hot weather poses real risks to walkers. Beat the heat and bust the excuse.

How to Bust the Hot Weather Walking Excuse

  • Love your sweat. Accept it. You are glowing!
  • Dress for the heat: wear breathable wicking fabrics such as CoolMax which draw the sweat away from the skin so the evaporation can cool you. Wear a hat to keep the sun off your head. ​Hot weather walking gear
  • Drink up: Drink 16 oz. of water an hour before you walk so you start off well-hydrated. Then drink a cup or more of water each mile. Drink a big glass of water when you finish.
  • Cool times: Walk in the early morning or in the cool of evening to avoid the hottest part of the day. Choose shaded trails or those with a breeze.
  • Walk indoors: Walk on a treadmill, walk in the mall, walk an indoors track, walk the halls of large buildings.

6
Excuse: "I'm Too Fat to Walk in Public"

Treadmills in a Gym
Treadmills in a Gym. © China Photos / Getty Images News

You would like to walk, but you just feel too fat to exercise in public. This excuse is self-sabotage.

How to Bust the Excuse That You Feel Too Fat

  • Time for Positive Self-Talk: Look in the mirror and start giving yourself affirmations. "I am healthy and beautiful. My body is strong. I can walk for miles. I am an athlete."
  • You Are a Hero: The overweight walker is a role-model. You can make a difference in the lives of everyone who might see you. What are they thinking? "What's my excuse?"
  • Dress for Success Buy yourself walking clothes that fit the shape you are in now. As you get fit, they will become looser. If you have trouble finding clothes large enough at athletic stores, here are choices for plus-size exercise clothing.
  • Join a Walking Event or Walking Club: You will see many people who are overweight walking a marathon, half marathon, 10K, or 5K. Join a  walking club and you'll meet many other people who are active at every size.
  • They Will Cheer You!: At run/walk events, runners are extremely supportive of overweight walkers. You'll hear clapping and, "Looking good!" You'll have to give lots of high fives. They know your challenges, many of them have been there as well.
  • Walk Proud: Walk like the athlete you are and 99.9 percent of passersby will be thinking, "She is out there exercising, maybe I should." Don't let any idiot from the other 0.1 percent ruin one second of your day or keep you from doing what is good for you.
  • Check With Your Doctor: Check with your physician if you are just beginning an exercise program or have a medical condition such as diabetes or heart disease. They can advise you about the safety of walking and give you schedules that are appropriate for your condition. They may also know of walking groups available through local medical centers and clinics.
  • Don't Ignore Pain: If you have pain or injury to your knees, ankles or feet, see a physician. These can often be treated and get you walking comfortably.

7
Excuse: "I'm Too Old to Walk"

Brisk Walking in the Park
Brisk Walking in the Park. Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images

Exercise is for young 'uns, right?

How to Bust the Excuse That You Think You're Too Old to Walk:

  • You need to keep exercising as you age. Brisk walking is one of the moderate-intensity aerobic exercises recommended by health authorities for people of all ages, including those over age 65. You need to do it five days a week for 30 minutes to reduce health risks and maintain fitness.
  • Don't get left out. Almost 10 million Americans age 55 and over list walking as their sports activity. You'll see plenty of gray hair and wrinkles at the finish line for a 5K, 10K, half marathon or marathon.
  • Be a role-model to the younger folks. If you take to your rocking chair at age 55, what are they to think?

8
Excuse: "My Feet or Muscles Hurt"

Getty Images

Is your excuse that your muscles or sore or your feet are tired or blistered?

How to Bust the Sore Feet or Muscles Excuse

  • Sore muscles after workouts: Strenuous moves such as walking up hills, changing your walking style, or walking for a long distance can all lead to muscle soreness. This is normal. You may also experience shin splints when you change your walking speed, technique, or get new shoes. Take it easy and be sure to get a good warm-up before picking up the pace.
  • Pay attention to signs of injury: If you have sharp pain or swelling, then you may have an injury. Don't walk through that kind of pain. Use the RICE formula to rest, ice, compress and elevate the injury and consult your medical provider. If you have pain in your sole or heel, you may have plantar fasciitis.
  • Replace your shoes. How old are your shoes? Walking shoes should be replaced every 500 miles or at least every six months. They lose their cushioning and soon you are not protecting your feet from the pounding and your muscles and joints will also feel the difference.
  • Buy the right shoes. Shop for walking shoes at the store in your area where the serious runners go and get fit correctly. Use the walking shoe guide buying tips to getting a good fit. 
  • Prevent blisters. Protect blister-prone areas with anti-chafing/anti-blister remedies. Cover any red spots or blisters with a bandage or tape before walking.
  • Arch supports and insoles. Athletic shoes do not have arch support, you'll need to buy arch support insoles and slip them into your shoes. Custom insoles can make a difference. They are no replacement for new shoes, but they can make your feet happier even with new shoes.

9

Woman walking solo on beach
David Epperson/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Lack of a walking partner is one of the chief reasons that people don't walk. It can be simply that you don't want to walk alone, or that you are afraid of walking alone.

How to Bust the "I Don't Want to Walk Alone" Excuse

  • Invite somebody: They may act reluctant at first, but it is flattering to be invited to join you in walking. Invite a loved one, family members, kids, friends, co-workers. "I want to walk for exercise, but I won't walk alone. I would love it if you could walk with me at least one day a week."
  • Clubs: Join a walking club or exercise group.
  • Walking events: Attend walking events or walk where there are other walkers. Strike up a conversation as you walk, and soon you will have new walking friends. Walk Finder
  • Walk where other people walk: You won't be alone if you walk at the local park, school track, jogging trail or mall where other people walk regularly. Soon enough you'll strike up a conversation and make new walking friends.
  • Virtual buddies: If you still can't find somebody to walk with, get an online walking pal and keep each other motivated. Use email, Facebook, Twitter, or walking apps to connect to other walkers.
  • Tunes: Entertain yourself while walking with music, podcasts, audiobooks, or radio.
  • Learn to enjoy solo walking: There are many positive benefits of walking alone. See 10 reasons to walk alone.
  • Dog: Walking with your dog is a good way to have companionship and protection.
  • Walking stick or poles:   Carrying a walking stick or using walking poles when you walk solo can make you seem like less of an easy target. If you're afraid to walk alone, it is one tactic to use.

More

10
Excuse: "Walking is Boring"

Treadmill Console
Treadmill Console. Maury Phillips / Getty Images Entertainment ©

You're headed for the same old slog. Your walk seems more like sensory deprivation than fun.

How to Bust the Excuse That You Find Walking Boring

  • Change your route. Explore new territory. Check out walking trails in your vicinity. Find a park and take a hike. Map it out in advance or explore the map functions and apps on your mobile phone.
  • Change your pace. Vary your pace every few minutes with a walking workout. Do different workouts on different days. Add some running, skipping, or other variations.
  • Get a pedometer, fitness band, or walking app: Put it on. Set at goal, such as 10,000 steps per day. 10 Ways to Motivate Yourself With a Pedometer
  • Listen while you walk. Grab your ear buds and listen to music, podcasts, or an audiobook on your mobile phone or another device.
  • Walk with a friend - human or canine. Trade in your old boring walking partner or add somebody new to the group to spice things up. Join a walking group or walking club.
  • Games and thought provoking questions. Remember those games your family played on long car trips to keep you quiet? Count cars or keep a list of birds, flowers, or trees you see. Select a question to mull over for the walk, such as "Where do I want to be in five years?" or "How would I spend a million dollars if I couldn't spend it on myself or my family?"
  • Meditation or prayer. Use your walking time to meditate or pray.
  • Events. Plan on attending a big walking event or charity walk to add some excitement and variety to your walking and get awards.
  • Crosstrain. Alternate walking days with biking, swimming, weight training, circuit training or another exercise.

Sources:

Moen MH, Tol JL, Weir A, Steunebrink M, De Winter TC. "Medial tibial stress syndrome: a critical review." Sports Med. 2009;39(7):523-46. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200939070-00002.

PAUL LT. Overview of sports injuries - injuries and poisoning - Merck manuals consumer version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/injuries-and-poisoning/sports-injuries/overview-of-sports-injuries.  

Nelson, M.E.; W.J. Rejeski; S.N. Blair; P.W. Duncan; J.O. Judge; A.C. King; C. A. Macera; and C. Castanedasceppa. "Physical Activity and Public Health in Older Adults: Recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association "Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 39, No. 8, pp. 1435–1445, 2007.

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