As the BreatheLife Challenge strides and cycles into its third week, 50,943 people (and growing!) from all over the world have promised to ditch their cars and walk, cycle or bus/train/tram instead.
Whether to cut air pollution, boost fitness, save on fuel, accompany friends, family or colleagues, make a statement about creating liveable cities, have fun— or all of the above— these Challengers are collectively contributing to a better living space for all.
Big cheers to you for sticking with the challenge, but in case your motivation is flagging, the BreatheLife team and our enthusiastic partner Pacer, the world’s most downloaded daily activity tracking app for iOS and Android, offer some tried and tested tips for sticking with the challenge.
And, if you’ve only just heard about the Challenge and want to join in, there’s still time— just click here.
Smartphone apps (combined with fitness bands or step-counters, or, in the case of iPhone users, your accelerometer) are designed with human psychology in mind, so it makes sense to harness them for motivation. Pacer, for example, shows you how many steps you’ve taken in the day; who else in the world, your region and your country are also taking the challenge; how they’re doing; and in which band you rank among them.
So, whether it’s to track and pace yourself against your goals, pit yourself against fellow users, collect Pokemons or run from zombies, there’s an app for whatever rocks your walking shoes/bike/stored-value card.
Walk or ride (bicycles, buses, trains or trams) with friends or in a group. It’s easier to keep to goals and routines when they involve other people— sort of like car-pooling, but health- and environment-friendly. Find friends or colleagues living in the same area and going your way, and agree to ride or walk together.
Make the journey the destination
Explore new routes to and from your destination. If you’re commuting by foot or bike, plot different routes each way (just make sure they’re safe). New scenery, a new crowd, or even familiar routes at a different pace, can provide new perspectives, inspiration and mental stimulation.
Prep your gear
If you’re changing your mode of commute and need to set off from home earlier (not always the case, since you’d be avoiding traffic), get your commute gear in order the night before. Set out your outfit and prepare your bike the night before, so you don’t waste time in the morning searching for lost things with the clock ticking down to office hours.
Let yourself eat cake
Rewards are in order. Whether you’ve walked, cycled or taken public transport, you’ve definitely done more exercise over that distance and time than sitting on your bum in a car through traffic lights and traffic. So give yourself a treat and a pat on the back for choosing the healthly and less polluting option.
Tell everyone what you’re intending to achieve. The more people you tell your plans to, the harder it is to back out! You might even find friends and acquaintances who have made the same commitment and can keep each other motivated. Tell your colleagues, your friends, your kids, your friends’ kids. You’d set a principled example of commitment, and, besides, kids are good at remembering promises.
Pacer has more tips and motivation here:
“By replacing driving with walking, you’ll get healthier and reduce harmful air pollutants,” said Pacer’s Marketing Manager, Jeffrey Barnes.
“Get your family, friends and colleagues on board to improve their health and help fight air pollution by walking 50km (31 miles) in May. That’s more than a marathon.”
If you want to use Pacer to help with your challenge: