Walking For Reluctant Walkers

A couple, who are not reluctant walkers, having fun out walking down a hill in the country. Woman in pink shirt walking backwards with arms outstretched and man smiling at her. Background hedge, trees and track.

Walking is easy, isn’t it? But not for reluctant walkers.
I am a reluctant walker. I am always looking for new ways to make walking more fun. 

You know, when those healthy, bracing walks that enhance all our life forces make you feel great.

Aristotle said,

“Habit’s but a long practice, friend, and this becomes men’s nature in the end.”

It’s a great insight. All we have to do is to practise.

Another related saying is something is becoming “second nature”. That’s when we get so accustomed to doing something that it becomes instinctive, a part of our nature. Putting them together, it seems that something we practise so much that it becomes a habit eventually forms a part of our nature. Even if it’s a second nature.

Sounds easy enough. So why is it so hard for reluctant walkers to get into the right sort of walking habits?

I’m thinking about how I can overcome my reluctance to go walking. I desperately want more energy to do more things. Do you find it hard to go and exercise?

Research tells me that if you want more energy, a good way is to exercise more as it builds up your resilience and other good things. Science tells us that nature did not design us for endless sitting and lolling about, however pleasant it is from time to time. Since these days we all seem to do far more of the sitting than the walking, maybe we are all building new ‘second’ sitting natures.  Are we all going to become reluctant walkers?

Bored, tired man wearing blue checked shirt leaning chin on hand on  desk looking at his phone

It sure feels like it when you know you ought to get in some exercise and something inside screams at you to sit down, bored and tired, and do your emails first.

Why is it that the better (more logical?) half of you only softly whispers that it is far better for you to go out and walk? It feels like the sitting down job is somehow more appealing than getting up and going out even when you remember that walking makes you feel better and work better.

The trouble is with second nature is that it doesn’t stop you absorbing bad habits as well as good ones. You just have to practise either of them for a long time. And then that becomes your second nature. It’s like a second chance to get it wrong. 

So you know what’s the best to do but you don’t feel like it. And that makes you feel horribly guilty. You’re an unfit slob, couch potato, failure of a person. Ok, you’re just a reluctant walker but I bet you feel bad about it. (I know I do. But I’m also sure that I am not the only reluctant walker in the world.)

And even Aristotle admitted that it is easy to perform one good action, but not easy to acquire a settled habit of performing such actions. He goes on to say that it requires courage to do the right thing.

So here I am screwing up my courage to go out for a walk and to commit to doing the same thing every day for the next – well how long does it take?

Years ago, it suddenly struck me that to do yoga properly required a commitment for life. I was so put off by that thought that I promptly gave it up for some years even though I enjoyed it.

With the benefit of arguing about it with myself in those intervening years, I eventually took it up again albeit sporadically. I realised that I’d be in much better shape if I hadn’t given it up.

Did I learn a lesson? Yes, it’s better to be committed. Do I feel like putting the lesson into practice? Not really. But how else can I get more energy? How else to feel better about life, the universe and everything?

So I’m committing to practise, like Aristotle says. I’m worried that I won’t keep it up and that I’ll feel a failure but I’m giving it a go. A 30 day challenge to get myself back into walking. Why 30 days? Because if I make it too long, it will be like the yoga and just too daunting and will make me more likely to give up. Small, baby steps are the way forward.

So, the way forward for reluctant walkers is to commit to take action and go walking.  How about you?  Will you take action and try to make it second nature?  Tell me how you are getting into your (good?) exercise habits. Hearing what others do definitely makes it more fun. 

I will report back to show how this reluctant walker is doing. Minimum 10 minutes a day to start with. I know that many days I will find it very hard. But it is still going to be fun because I’m trying out all the ideas I’ve so carefully gathered together on how to make it fun.

Maybe you’d like to join my challenge and we’ll keep each other going. Subscribe below and I’d be delighted to spur you on with emails and encouragement. And I’d love a few claps or a few whispers from you to spur me on to go walking. 

Send me a message and I’ll be glad to share my second (or is third?) chance to develop the right second nature with yours. Anyway, here’s to sharing journeys to new and better second natures. Ones where walking is our nature and we are no longer reluctant walkers.

21 Easy Walking Tips: How to Get Going and Get Fit

Make Exercise a Habit: 9 Super Easy Ways (using your smartphone)

10 Brilliant Reasons to Challenge Yourself

Coming Soon!

My new book for reluctant or jaded and bored walkers who want to live longer, happier lives and have more fun along the way.

The cover of the book 'Go Walking' by Rosemary Bointon with a couple holding hands and walking in the sand along a beach next to the sea.

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