20 Ways to Keep Your Walking Routine Exciting

Make a Change

1. If you walk indoors on a treadmill, try walking outdoors instead, or vice versa. The differences will surprise you; you can alter speed and gradation on the treadmill, and experience the challenges of natural terrain outdoors.

2. Reverse the direction of your normal route. Everything looks different coming from the opposite way.

3. Consider walking in a new place once a month; visit a zoo, a local park, or an outdoor shopping center.

Challenge Yourself

4. Supplement your normal walk by adding mini speed intervals. Incorporate four to six three-minute segments of walking at a slightly faster pace than your normal stride into a 30-minute walk. You will cover more ground and burn additional calories.

5. Trail walk instead of walking on even surfaces. You'll work much harder due to the varying terrain.

6. Hike or backpack in a national forest or park, or better yet, take a walking vacation.

7. Add hills or stairs to your normal walk to incorporate strength training and increase caloric burn.

8. Substitute a slow jog in place of your walk one day a week.

9. Add other exercises to your walk. Use a park bench to perform a set of triceps dips, or stop at a grassy spot for a set of crunches.

Set a Goal

10. Choose new walking goals at the beginning of each week. You'll be more focused if you make it accessible―15 or 20 miles per week, for example.

11. Pick a walker ahead of you on the trail, and try to pass her or him.

12. Wear a pedometer, and log your walking times and distances to track your training. Attempt to break a record at least once a month. You'll be inspired when you see improvements.

13. Invest in a heart-rate monitor, and keep track of your heart-rate zone while walking. This will help you gauge your exertion level. It's also a great way to track your fitness level and improvements.

Have a Purpose

14. Walk with your dog. No dog? Volunteer to help walk dogs at the local humane society.

15. Carry a bag and pick up litter as you walk. You'll feel like you've contributed to making your park or neighborhood a better place.

16. Train with a group for an event that supports a cause, like a breast cancer walk.

Keep it Fun

17. Wear an mp3 player and listen to music as you walk. Just make sure it's upbeat or you'll find yourself slowing down. And keep the volume low; you need to be able to hear nearby traffic.

18. Join a walking club in your area. (Find a club online at  the Web site of the American Volkssport Association.)

19. Make it a group effort by getting your kids, spouse, or friends to join. You can motivate one another to stay on track and spend time together at the same time.

20. Reward yourself by doing something you enjoy, like having a pedicure, when you accomplish a major goal.