As the temperature drops in the fall, it can be harder to find the motivation to get out of the house for a walk. That's not to mention the unpredictable autumnal weather, which may leave you wetter than you'd have hoped.
Still, there's good reason to put on a pair of the best shoes for walking and head outside. Walking is a great way to get moving, stay fit, lose weight, and improve your mental and physical health. If you need a bit of a nudge, consider taking part in Walktober, a month-long daily walking challenge.
Like similar fall events, Stoptober, 28 days without smoking, and Go Sober for October, a month without alcohol, Walktober helps you set a timely, achievable goal with the aim of improving your health. For many of us, gentle competition can be a great motivator, even if it's with ourselves.
Interestingly, previous research has found that walking with a purpose, like commuting into the office or as part of a daily challenge, leads to better reported health measures than those who walk purely for leisure.
Anecdotally, we've all heard that getting outdoors is good for our mental health, and there's science to back that up too. A meta-analysis of published studies found that walking had a significant impact on the symptoms of depression.
The month-long event is hosted by Go Jauntly, a walking guides app for your smartphone. The company recently released a new Challenges feature, which "[helps] people celebrate the little wins that encourage behaviour change."
Most of the app's routes are based in the UK and Ireland, although there are guided walks in many areas of Europe, Sydney, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Italy, and Sri Lanka. If there are no guides for your area, you can still use the Nature Notes feature to keep a diary of the sights and sounds of your walk.
Perhaps you've been hoping to kick start a weight loss program, but have been anxious about the idea of launching straight into High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or weights-based strength training. Fortunately, studies have shown that walking is a great way to lose weight.
If you want to take things a stage further than a gentle stroll around your local area, you can prepare for the one-month walking challenge by setting daily step goals and adjusting your posture so that walking feels easy and comfortable.
Likewise, it's worth investing in one of the best fitness trackers to observe your progress. These wrist-worn devices help you monitor your steps and walking distance, measure your heart rate throughout the day, and keep tabs on how well you sleep after an autumnal stroll.
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James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.
In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.
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