I think that it’s only fitting after our bicycle myths, busted blog that we also break open some of the perceived barriers to walking.
Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. We’ve already determined that our built environment has been designed for the automobile. Because of this design, many realÂ barriers are present for pedestrians such as a lack of shoulder, safe crossings, side walks, and signage that discourage people from walking. Included in these barriers are perceived barriers which are createdÂ by the individual.
Perceived Barrier 1: I’m out of shape
You are not alone, but you are at a serious risk for several health complications by not exercising and walking regularly such as; hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease to name a few. But you are in luck, this is an easy fix. Physical activity can be added to your daily routine by choosing the stairs instead of the elevators, walking/biking to your errands, parking further away from stores to walk, etc.
Perceived Barrier 2: I get bored walking
Easy fix. There are some tips to liven up your walking routine and keep you motivated to walk:
- people- walk with friends, coworkers, relatives, clubs, etc. You will be more motivated to walk daily if you have someone depending on you to keep them motivated also.
-routines- are good for some, but not all. If you find yourself getting stuck in a routine and it’s slowing your progress, try breaking up the grind by walking new place, exploring new trails or walking routes, walking your dog, walking with new people, or even walking at a different time of day.
-subtle distractions- listen to music or an audio book and let your mind wander, but be sure to keep the volume low so you can be aware of your surroundings.
-destination walk-Â tie your walk to a destination such as the beach, a friends house, park, grocery store etc.
Perceived Barrier 3: I don’t feel safe walking
If safety is a concern of yours consider other alternatives to keep you walking such as finding a less threatening place to walk such as your work office (take laps during your lunch break), your local mall, or walk when there is less traffic (morning/dusk)Â or in areas that are more pedestrian friendly.
Perceived Barrier 4: Driving is faster
Yes, this argument is a fact. I can’t walk 30 mph, but I also can’t get exercise in sitting in my car. What you are really saying is that you haven’t made time for your health and that it isn’t a priority to you. Here are some tips to help make walking more of a priority:
- If you can’t find time to set aside 30 minutes to walk then try shorter segments of walking throughout the day.
- Make a list of all the places that you typically drive to and highlight the one’s that you could walk to (i.e. destination that are within 2 miles) and choose 1 a day to walk to and gradually increase.
-Consider the benefits. By walking to a destination you can accomplish many things at once such as exercising and running errands! Often two things that are challenging to make time for!
Perceived Barrier 5: Walking is too painful
If you are out of shape or recovering from an injury, walking may hurt at first. However, walking is one of the easiest forms of physical activity. It will get even easier if you keep walking daily. Start by walking 10 minutes daily and gradually increase you time and distance as you feel more comfortable.
Perceived Barrier 6: It’s too_________outside
If you depend on the weather to by physically active then there is only going to be about 10 days that you will be able to walk in a year. Here are some tips to manage the weather and keep walking:
- Dress for the weather. Stores make snow gear, rain gear, heat gear to accomodate all types of weather.
- If you live in an area that experiences extreme cold or hot, adjust your routine to accomodate these seasonal concerns. In hot or humid areas, start walking early or at dusk. In cold areas, walk during the middle of the day- on your lunch break, or in the afternoon.