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» How to Walk Your Way to Better Health

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Walking is one of the best forms of introductory exercise a person can engage in. If you have found yourself wanting to get back into shape, but need to gradually build back up your conditioning, a walking plan might be right for you.

This beginner’s four week walking program can help you shed some unwanted weight, while also helping your improve health and build strength. For the purposes of the walking plan, we’ll start slow (10 minutes a day three to four times a week) and build up. If you have any known health problems, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program, and be sure to keep track of how far you walk each day.

Your Walking Plan: Day 1

 Welcome to the beginning of your new walking program. Remember to start slowly.

  • Walk at a comfortable pace for four to five minutes
  • Stop to stretch out your calves and hamstrings for two minutes
  • Begin walking once again at the same easy pace for another four to five minutes

If this seems too simple, remember you’re new to this program, and need to take things gradually. If you start out too fast, you can end up hurting yourself of lose the motivation to continue the program. If you find yourself getting tired, rest for a moment before continuing with your walk. Relax the next day, and get ready for day three.

Your Walking Plan: Day 3

Day three is going to repeat the same program as day one so:

  • Walk at a comfortable pace for four to five minutes
  • Stop to stretch out your calves and hamstrings for two minutes
  • Begin walking once again at the same easy pace for another four to five minutes

While it may be tempting to do more early on, try to resist. Going slowly will reduce risk of injury. Also, don’t forget to stretch. If you feel up to it, go for another easy walk on day four. If you’d prefer to rest up for day five that’s fine too.

Your Walking Plan: Day 5

Today, you’ll need to take a 10-minute walk without stopping to stretch. Make sure you stick with your leisurely pace. If you find walking tedious, try calling a friend or listening to a book on tape. Anything that you can do to make your walks more interesting will help keep you on the program.

Your Walking Plan: Day 7

Today you’re going to push a little than you’ve gone before. Take a 10 to 12 minute walk, but be sure to sick with the same leisurely pace. If you want, feel free to walk one of the next two days, but take at least one day off.

Your Walking Plan: Day 9

 Congrats, you’ve reach the second week of your program. Now the time has finally come to pick up the pace.

  • Walk at an easy pace for five minutes
  • Stretch for two minutes
  • Walk at a brisk pace for five minutes

Your Walking Plan: Day 11

  • Walk at an easy pace for five minutes
  • Stretch for two minutes
  • Walk at a brisk pace for five minutes

Your Walking Plan: Day 13 

Today, take a 15-minute walk. Stick with your leisurely pace and rest if you need to.

Your Walking Plan: Day 15

Congrats, you’re now three weeks in, and once again it’s time to pick up the pace.

  • Walk at a leisurely pace for five to six minutes
  • Stretch for two minutes
  • Walk at a brisk pace for eight to 10 minutes

If you begin to feel overwhelmed, you can split up your walking and part in the morning and the rest in the afternoon.

Your Walking Plan: Day 17

Keep it up.

  • Walk at a leisurely pace for five to six minutes
  • Stretch for two minutes
  • Walk at a brisk pace for eight to 10 minutes

Your Walking Plan: Day 19

Today take a 15-minute brisk walk. Try to maintain the same pace throughout your entire walk. If you feel your resolve beginning to waiver, invite a friend or neighbor to walk with you.

Your Walking Plan: Day 21

Today it’s time to stretch your walk to 20 minutes. You can stick with a leisurely pace if you’d prefer, but whatever pace you decide on, you need to maintain throughout the entire walk.

Your Walking Plan: Day 23

Week four, here you come!! Once again, it’s time to pick up the pace.

  • Walk at an easy pace for five minutes
  • Stretch for two
  • Walk at a brisk pace for 15 minutes

Stop and reflect on how much progress you’ve made in recent weeks. Has walking helped improve mood or energy?

Your Walking Plan: Day 25 & 27

Week four, here you come!! Once again, it’s time to pick up the pace.

  • Walk at an easy pace for five minutes
  • Stretch for two
  • Walk at a brisk pace for 15 minutes

Your Walking Plan: Day 28 

Congrats, you’ve reach the end of your four-week program.

  • Walk at a easy pace for five minutes
  • Stretch for two
  • Walk at a brisk pace for 20 minutes

Of course now that you’re a walking pro, you’ll want to keep walking on at least an every other day basis. In the following weeks, try adding an additional two to five minutes to your routine each week. Your goal should be to walk at least 150 minutes a week, which averages out to five 30-minute walks a week.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of API/AMS, a machine shop in Hillsboro.

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