Whether you’re just starting to walk for exercise, or you’ve had a walking routine for years, you can get in shape with a walking workout. Check with your health care provider before you start. For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150-300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 – 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.1 Here’s a great way to start walking for beginners… and beyond.
When you’re starting to walk for exercise, your goal can be to walk 30 minutes, 5 days a week (150 minutes), but you don’t have to start there! Start with 15 minutes:
- 5 minutes at a slow pace to warm-up your muscles and lubricate your joints.
- 5 minutes at an increased pace, maintaining good form.
- 5 minutes slowing down your pace, cooling down, and allowing your heart rate to come down gradually.
When you feel ready, you can add minutes at the increased pace, until you are walking briskly for 20 minutes with a 5-minute warm-up and cool down.
Once you have an established walking routine, you can move to the next level with some of these walking tips:
- Increase pace, distance, or time
- Consider interval walking (short bursts of timed, faster walking, followed by intervals of slower walking to recover)
- Add Nordic walking poles
- Add stairs, bleachers, hills
- Hike or change your surface (Note: Uneven surfaces are not recommended if you have balance issues)
- Add a buddy – walk with a friend or family member
- Add a challenge:
- Train for a 5k-, 10k-, half-marathon-, or marathon-length walk
- Challenge a buddy to a set goal
- Join Walk Across Texas, Walk Through Texas History, or the 10 – 10,000 Change Challenge!
- Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018.