8 Most Common Excuses to Avoid Walking

How the Overcome the Barriers to Good Health

The benefits of walking extend well beyond your physical health. It is a great way to relieve stress, boost your mood, and engage with others in the great outdoors. It is something that everyone can do and continue to do for a lifetime.

So, why is it so hard sometimes to get out of a chair, strap on a pair of shoes, and take a walk? We often convince ourselves that we have our reasons but, more often than not, we're just making excuses.

Now is the time to get past the excuses and back on the track to good health. To this end, here are the eight most common excuses to avoid walking and what you can do to overcome them:

1
"I'm too busy to walk."

The Overworked Mom
Getty Images

There is no denying the fact that a person's home and work life can be hectic. But, oftentimes, we use the term "too busy" to give us an "out" on exercise rather carving out 30 to 40 minutes in our schedule.

There are several things you can do to help overcome this:

  • Commit to a walking time. Start by blocking out a time on your calendar as you would any other appointment. If you use your smartphone, program a weekly reminder.
  • Invite others. By having friends, family, or coworkers by your side, you'll be less likely to back out and may even end up enjoying yourself.
  • Make walking a part of your chores. Instead of driving everywhere, find opportunities to walk to the market, to the post office, or to your kid's school.
  • Sneak walking into your workday. Walking doesn't have to be something you do all at once. Break it into 10- to 15-minute intervals, walking during a break, between meetings, or even during a conference call.
  • Take your kids with you. Children need exercise, too, so having them by your side improves their health as well as yours. Make it a family affair.

2
"I'm too tired to walk."

CC license at https://www.flickr.com/photos/59632563@N04/6480297645
Vic/Flickr CC

The amazing thing about this excuse is that walking has the exact opposite effect on fatigue. It energizes you far more than either collapsing on the sofa or cracking open a beer.

To get yourself on track, start by taking a few baby steps:

  • Do not sit down when you get home. Instead, have your walking shoes and gear ready to go when you return home. Do not give your mind the chance to talk you out of a walk.
  • Make walking a routine. By doing it regularly (three to four times a week), it will soon become a habit, and you'll eventually feel like something is missing if you don't take a walk.
  • Don't worry about time, distance, or speed. Just focus getting out and doing it. You can worry about performance when it becomes more of a habit.

3
"It's too cold to walk."

freezing cold woman hypothyroidism thyroid hypothyroid winter
clipart.com

It is a mistake to believe that you are supposed to put on weight in the winter. If you prepare for the season, there is no reason why you need to walk any less in winter than you would in the spring.

Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Dress in layers. This allows you to strip down as your body adjusts to the outdoor temperature.
  • Keep your feet warm. You don't need expensive electrical socks for this. One of the simplest tricks is to tuck a paper napkin between the top of your foot and the upper part of the shoe. It really works.
  • Keep your hands warm. Gloves are good, but mittens are better. Thermal mittens are the best. On especially cold days, disposable hand warmers can usually do the trick.
  • Get the right shoes. There plenty of walking shoes designed for winter conditions. If it's icy outside, try getting a pair of slip-on cleats or walking poles to prevent slippage and assist with stability.
  • Walk indoors. If conditions are too adverse, find an indoor track or use the treadmill at the gym. If all else fails, take a brisk indoor walk through the mall.

4
"It's too hot to walk."

Sweaty man resting on bleachers.
Getty Images/Blend Images/Marc Romanelli

Let's be clear: hot weather can pose real health risks to walkers, including dehydration and heat exhaustion. But, this doesn't mean you have to sideline yourself during the height of summer.

Instead, take a few simple precautions:

  • Dress for the heat. Wear breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics which draw the sweat away from the skin so that the evaporative moisture can keep you cool.
  • Keep hydrated. Start by drinking 16 ounces of water an hour before walking, and sip a cup or more for each mile you walk. Finish with a big glass of water when you're through.
  • Walk during cooler hours. Early morning or early evening is better than late-morning or midday hours. Find shade wherever you can rather than walking fully exposed.
  • Use sunscreen. Always wear a minimum of SPF 30 sunscreen protection. It is also good to wear a hat and sunglasses even if you are not in direct sunlight.
  • Use a cooling collar. In the same way that a wet bandana around the neck can bring down the body temperature, a reusable cooling collar can do the same (only better).
  • Walk indoors. If the heat is too much to bear, head for the treadmill, the mall, or an indoor track.

5
"I'm too old to walk."

Man walking with cane
Thanasis Zovoilis/Getty Images

People who say they are too old to walk are usually the same ones who engage in no form of physical activity at all. And, the problem with this is that walking is one of the best forms of exercise for older adults. It improves cardiovascular health, mobility, and muscle tone and is often the one form of exercise that older adults will stay with.

Sure, you may have limitations, but exercise can benefit anyone no matter the age or physical condition. To get yourself back on a healthier path:

  • Find the appropriate shoes. The problem that many older people have is that they walk with the entirely wrong shoes. Find a proper pair of walking shoes that fit correctly and overcome any alignment problems you may have.
  • Start slowly. It is more important to get into the routine of walking rather than doing too much too soon. Start slowly with the aim of adding distance and/or speed week on week.
  • Consult with your doctor. This is especially true if you have joint problems or a heart condition. Your doctor will be best suited to advise you on ways to avoid injury.
  • Work within your limits. If walking is beyond you, explore other low-impact activities such as swimming, tai chi, gentle yoga, or elliptical machines at the gym. The only wrong thing to do is nothing at all.

6
"Walking is not good for my body."

Knee pain
Jeannot Olivet/E+/Getty Images

While it is true that a hip, knee, or foot problem can flare up when walking, it may be related more to your footwear than anything else. While you clearly need to work within your limitations, inactivity won't improve your health or make your joint problems any better. Walking can.

Here are a few of the things that may help:

  • Buy walking shoes, not running shoes. Running shoes are stiffer and padded at the back to lessen the impact to the heel. Walking shoes, by contrast, have a thinner heel and are more flexible at the midsole and toe to allow you to roll from the heel through the foot and toes.
  • Replace your shoes. Walking shoes should be replaced every 500 miles or roughly every six months. They lose their cushioning with regular use and may not protect your muscles and joints the way they are supposed to.
  • Correct your misalignment. If you have flat feet or pronate, arch support and orthotic insoles can make a big difference in how you walk and feel. By realigning your foot to a neutral position, you can take a lot of pressure off the hips, knees, and ankles.
  • Get your shoes fitted. Ill-fitting shoes lead to foot pain, blisters, and early exhaustion. Find an athletic shoe store where the serious runners go. They will more likely to fit your shoes correctly and find the pair best suited for your feet.
  • Use an elastic knee brace. Walking can strengthen the muscles around the knee but may need support over the short- to medium-term. An elastic knee brace from the drugstore can usually do the trick. If your knee pain is severe, see your doctor before engaging in any lower body exercise.
  • Walk on level surfaces. You will place less stress on your body if you don't have to climb hills or traverse gullies. Take it easy on your body until you are better able to navigate more challenging terrain.

7
"I don't like to walk alone."

Woman walks alone through leaves
Kevin Wells / Getty Images

Of all of the excuses, this may be most valid. Beyond possible concerns about safety, walking alone on a regular basis can simply be less enjoyable.

With that being said, there are things you can do to make walking a safer and more sociable affair:

  • Join a walking club. You can often find these in community papers, by doing an online search, or checking out social websites like Meetup. Walking clubs are great places to make friends and find walking companions.
  • Join a walking event. These aren't necessarily competitive events. Many are simply fun walks conducted within the community or organized by different commercial or charitable groups.
  • Join a charity walking team. Many walking events are organized to support worthy charities. Fundraising teams often seek new members to help reach their targeted goal.
  • Walk safely. Whether you are alone or with someone else, make yourself less vulnerable by walking where other people walk, by walking during peak hours, or by walking with a dog. Always have your cell phone on you in case of an emergency.

8
"Walking is boring."

Ready to Walk
Sofie Delauw/Cultura/Getty Images

Okay, so walking may not be as exciting as running the luge or rappeling down a cliff, but there are things you can do to enhance the overall experience.

Start by reframing how you look at walking. If you need to get more out of walking than just fresh air and lovely surroundings, consider these options:

  • Set performance goals for yourself. Start by getting a pedometer, fitness band, or walking app. Take the opportunity to challenge yourself by improving your speed, endurance, heart rate, or calorie burn each week.
  • Change your route. Explore new territory. Check out walking trails in your area. Find a park and take a strenuous hike rather than a casual stroll.
  • Change your pace. Vary your pace every few minutes with a walking workout. Do different workouts on different days. Add running, hand weights, jumping rope, or other variations to your routine walks.
  • Cross train. Alternate walking days with biking, swimming, weight training, circuit training, or other forms of exercise.
  • Use the time as an opportunity for growth. Instead of just walking, put in a pair of earbuds and listen to an audiobook, a podcast, or a language tape. You can even download a book onto your smartphone and learn the name of birds or plants along your route.

In the end, walking doesn't have to be a slog. Once you take the time to look at the many benefits of walking—both to your health and peace of mind—you'll find few excuses for not making it a regular part of your life.

Was this page helpful?