Walking Program that includes a 12-Week Plan for Beginners

walking program with a 12 week plan for beginners

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When starting a walking program, or any exercise routine, it’s good to have a measurable plan with small steps that can lead to long-term success. Here’s a FREE walking program with a 12-week plan for beginners that can take you from Day 1, through Week 12, and into a new healthy habit! The goal of this walking program is to move you toward walking for 30 – 60 minutes 5-7 days a week.1

Check with your health care provider before you start any exercise program.

Download a FREE 12-Week Walking Plan for Beginners (printer-friendly pdf)


12-Week Walking Plan for Beginners
Click or tap to view the 12-Week Walking Plan for Beginners

Tips for Success:

Start Slowly

  • If you haven’t been physically active for awhile, start slowly.
  • Gradually build up how long and how fast you walk – moving gradually from the warm up to a more brisk walking pace day by day.
  • Eventually, you can learn to keep your brisk walk within your target heart rate zone – the optimal pace at which you want to perform any aerobic exercise for maximum benefit.

Listen to Your Body

  • It’s always important to listen to your body when you exercise. Although you may feel some soreness or a bit of stiffness, especially when you begin, you should not feel pain.
  • During a brisk walk you should be able to talk, but not sing. If you can’t complete a sentence, you’re going too fast. Slow down slightly and keep going.
  • If you feel dizzy, like fainting, unable to catch your breath, or pain/pressure in your chest during or after exercise. Stop the activity and contact your health care provider immediately.

Stay Motivated

To stay motivated:

  • Find your “Why”: Decide why you’re walking. Write it down and post it as a reminder where you will see it often.
  • Set a goal: Challenging yourself to meet a goal, such as walking a 5k or 10k, or being able to walk a specific distance from your front door and back within a specified time.
  • Buddy-up: Ask a friend or family member to join you. Keep each other accountable to walking regularly, and keeping a good pace.

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  1. S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018.
  2. National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute (2006). Your guide to physical activity and your heart. NIH Publication NO. 06-5714. Accessed July 8, 2022. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/resources/your-guide-physical-activity-and-your-heart
  3. University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Pubic Health,. Sample walking program. Accessed July 8, 2022. https://www.uwhealth.org/files/uwhealth/docs/pdf6/HVT_Walking_Handout_Update.pdf