7 Things to Do When You Just Don’t Feel Like Walking

For me, walking is an almost daily activity.  Every weekday, after my daughter is on the bus to school—after I’ve checked in and completed a few of the day’s most important tasks—I close my laptop and head out for a walk.  It’s not something I do every once in a while, when I get the urge; it’s something I do every day.  It’s part of my daily routine.

Still, even the most devoted walkers have those days (and sometimes even those weeks) when they get up in the morning, and they just don’t feel like walking.  Maybe it’s cold and gray outside.  Maybe they’re tired or stressed out or just feeling blah.  Or maybe it’s rainy, and the thought of getting on the treadmill instead of walking outside just makes them want to cry. 

We’ve all had those moments.  But, fortunately, there are plenty of things that you can do when you’re just not feeling it.

1) Phone a Friend

Okay…text a friend.  You don’t have to go to such extreme lengths as actually making a phone call.  That would be crazy.  But I often find that making plans to walk with a friend makes me feel a whole lot more motivated to get out the door.

I’m fortunate to have a couple of regular walking buddies. I can text them on a dreary Tuesday morning and say, “I need some extra motivation.  Want to walk with me?”  And I have a few others who might be able to fit in a walk from time to time.  And then, instead of another long, boring walk around the same old trail, I can get my steps in while laughing and sharing and catching up with a good friend. 

2) Change It Up

Sometimes, motivation comes from sheer boredom.  Maybe you’re tired of going nowhere on the treadmill.  Or you’re sick of the same old trail.  That’s when it’s time to change things up.  If you usually walk on a treadmill, head outside—or vice versa.  Maybe do some laps in the mall.  Or try a new trail.  Changing up your same old routine can make it fun and exciting again—and it’ll help to get you out of your funk.

3) Crank Up the Tunes

When I walk alone, I usually listen to an audiobook.  When I get engrossed in the characters and their story—or even if I’m learning something interesting from a non-fiction book—it helps to make the miles fly by.  And it helps that these books are hours and hours long—so it makes my walk seem short in comparison.

Sometimes, though, I just need to turn off the book and switch over to my favorite playlist—to crank up some upbeat songs that will put a smile on my face and make me pick up my pace.  Sometimes, if it’s a really great song, I might just dance-walk my way through. 

4) Bribe Yourself

Remember those times when you could only get your kid to behave by promising some kind of a treat or trinket?  Some people may think it’s bad parenting, but I am not above a little bit of bribery every now and then.  That was the case when I was parenting a cranky toddler, and sometimes it’s also the case when I’m trying to motivate an unmotivated adult (that’s me) into going for a walk.

That’s not to say that you should overdo it.  You probably shouldn’t bribe yourself with a whole chocolate cake every time you manage to get up and go for a walk.  Even if you’re not walking for weight loss (or your health), it’s just going to make you feel worse about yourself in the end.  And buying yourself a new piece of jewelry for every 5k walk you finish will probably bankrupt you in a short amount of time.  Every once in a while, though, it’s okay to bribe yourself with a special treat.  For me, it’s usually a run through the Dunkin drive-thru for an iced coffee on my way home from the trail. 

Maybe I’m just incredibly bribable, but there are so many possibilities here.  It doesn’t need to be something consumable.  Maybe it means choosing a trail that’s near a favorite store and giving yourself a half hour to browse.  Maybe it’s stopping by the dollar store and picking up something that you totally don’t need.  But, from time to time, it’s okay to bribe yourself with something fun in order to motivate yourself to keep doing something that’s good for you.

5) Play Mind Games

Is it weird that I can trick myself into doing things?  Maybe I need to take some time to think about what that means about my mental health.  I’ll might need to work through that later.

What I mean, though, is that sometimes I’ll tell myself “Just go for a slow walk on the treadmill.  Just one mile.”  Or maybe “Just get 15 minutes in, and you can go home.”  Sometimes I just need to trick myself to get started—and then, far more often than not, once I start walking, I’ll keep walking.

6) Don’t Walk

If you’re thinking that I’m about to let you off the hook, you’re wrong.  I’m just saying that it’s okay to do something other than walking sometimes.  Maybe you just need a little variety in the form of a bike ride.  Or roller skating.  Or an exercise video.  Or lifting some weights.  Or a dance party with your kids.

This year, I set a goal of doing something different at least once a week—not just to change it up but also to work on different muscles to build more over-all strength.  Often, that means getting on the old recumbent bike that’s next to the treadmill in our basement.  Or maybe I’ll pick up my resistance bands.  But there are so many other options for trying something different every once in a while, when you need a little variety. 

7) Rest

Okay, so now I’m letting you off the hook.  Kind of.  Really, though, I’m telling you to listen to what your body is trying to tell you.  Most of the time, when you just don’t feel like walking, it’s because you’re bored.  Or tired.  Or stressed out.  Or just struggling to stay motivated.  Or maybe you’re just sick of putting on all those layers that you need for walking outside during the winter.  I’ve definitely been there. 

Other times, though, it’s your body’s way of trying to tell you that you just need a break.  If you’re feeling pain or fatigue (or if you’re actually sick), sometimes you need to listen to your body and rest—because if you push your body to keep going when you really shouldn’t, you can end up doing serious damage.

None of us feel motivated to exercise every single day.  I’m guessing that even professional athletes have days when they just don’t feel like getting up and getting moving.  But if you have some emergency motivation plans ready for those days, you’ll have a better chance of working through the slump and getting back to your old walk-loving self.

Do you have other ways to help keep you motivated?  Let’s hear ‘em!


Kristin has been hitting the trail (or the treadmill) for a walk almost every day for the past several years, and she recently completed her first half marathon. She loves sunny fall days, cushy walking shoes, and coconut caramel iced coffee from Dunkin.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *