How To Start A Walking Exercise Program

start walking

If you have decided to start walking for fitness, health, and weight loss, but don’t know how or where to begin, then you have come to the right place.

Here’s the truth.

Walking is an efficient, convenient way to exercise daily and improve overall fitness and conditioning levels.

Whether you’re looking to just get in shape or serious about becoming a regular runner down the road, here’s my complete beginner guide to fitness walking.

Note: I’m not a certified physician.

So, a word to the wise, before taking up this walking plan, consult with your doctor, especially if you’re over 40, have serious health issues, or a family history of heart disease, or are overweight.

The Benefits of Walking

Walking is definitely, one of the most suitable and enjoyable forms of exercise.

It can help you shed weight, improve stamina, reduce stress, get in shape, and improve your health and well-being.

What’s more?

Walking may also reduce the risk of some conditions, such as stroke, heart disease, and some cancers.

Walking briskly for over 45-minute two to three times a week can help cut the risk of heart failure by 38 percent after menopause, according to a study of roughly 90,000 women.

Research shows that two hours of walking a week can reduce stroke risk by 30 percent.

Hitting the road can also help lessen symptoms of depression as well as protect your brain regions in charge of memory and planning.

Walking is also a fantastic alternative to intense, high-impact aerobic exercise, such as running.

I can go on and on about the benefits of walking, but that’s another topic for another day.

Walking For Beginner Runners

Walking is the perfect stepping stone to the world of running.

It actually puts your arms and legs through the same range of motion as running, but without the added stress on your bones and joints.

This is ideal for newbies dealing with joint issues where high impact exercise is out of the question.

That’s not the whole story.

Walking also targets key running muscles, improve posture, and helps instill the habit of exercise.

long walk exercise

Already a runner?

No worries.

Walking still has a place in your routine.

It’s actually the perfect warm-up and cool-down for your runs.

You can also turn to walk during your recovery days or when recovering from an injury.

Is Walking Better Than Running

Find the answer here.

Consult Your Doctor

Although walking is a low impact and an accessible form of exercise for most people, you must still need to consult with your doctor.

This is especially the case if you:

  • Have a history of cardiovascular diseases
  • Have been sedentary for a long time
  • Often feel dizzy, or suffer from chronic headaches
  • Are 60 years old or over
  • Have medical conditions, such as diabetes, blood pressure, chest pain, joint problems, etc.
  • Are pregnant
  • Recovering from injury or surgery

How to Start Walking?

Simple.

Start small, then build it up gradually.

That’s it.

The idea of “starting an exercise routine” may seem threatening.

But it doesn’t have to be.

As long as you’re paying attention to your body, you’re good to go.

Here’s how to do it.

Just walk out the door.

You can simply walk for 20 minutes then walk back.

For the first few sessions, shoot for a relatively small amount of time—15 to 20 minutes.

This depends, of course, on your fitness levels and goals.

Then up it to 25 to 35 minutes the second week.

Keep walking for more until you’re doing it for as long as desired.

What’s the Ideal Walking Quota?

According to experts, shoot for 10,000 steps a day to stay fit.

That’s roughly four to five miles.

Feel like you can do more? Then do more.

But remember to pay attention to your body the entire time.

If it feels too much, slows it down and recover.

How Fast Should Beginners Walk?

To make the most out of your walking exercise, aim for a brisk pace to achieve a moderate intensity walking sessions.

This is the training intensity needed to reap the health benefits of walking.

How to know you’re doing it, right?

As a rule, you should be able to carry on a conversation without strain.

You’re not out of breath but are breathing heavier than usual.

You should be covering 3 to 4 miles per hour.

How to Progress?

Start out walking for three times the first two weeks, then four times on weeks 3 and 4, then up to 5 times afterward.

Can you walk for more than an hour without trouble? Add in a few jogging intervals every now and then to make it more challenging.

Make it more Challenging

As you get fitter, aim to make your walking sessions more challenging.

You can increase your walking intensity by doing the following:

  • Strap on a 10 to 15 pounds backpack while walking.
  • Use light hand weights and keep swinging your arms
  • Walk on the beach
  • Add hills or stairs to your regular walks.

Improve Your Walking Form

Whether you’re a casual stroller or a power walking, remember to keep good form the entire time.

Here’s how:

  • Walk upright with your feet hip-width apart and parallel.
  • Land gently on the heels, then push evenly off your toes. Don’t let your feet collapse inward or outward.
  • Keep your head held up high, eyes gazing straight ahead.
  • Keep your chin parallel to the ground and neck in line with the rest of your spine.
  • Keep your shoulders aligned with your ears.
  • Swing your elbows back and form in a continuous manner.
  • Relax your shoulders and keep them loose.
  • Keep your core engaged by pulling the navel toward the spine. This should help stay tall the entire time.
  • Take quicker rather than longer steps.
  • Avoid slapping the ground with your feet and focus on smooth movement. Think ninja steps.

Walking Safely

Safety might not have crossed your mind when thinking about starting a walking routine, but it’s paramount.

To stay safe while walking, do the following:

  • Choose sidewalks over roads whenever possible. You’re, after all, a pedestrian.
  • Carry with you your phone, ID, and some cash.
  • Let someone else know where and when you’ll be walking, so they know where you are and when to expect you back
  • Face oncoming traffic when walking on the streets. This helps have better situational awareness.
  • Stay visible by wearing reflective clothing or carrying a flashlight, especially if you’re exercising early in the morning or late in the evening.
  • Walk with confidence. Pretend that you know where you’re going and walk like a man (or woman) on a mission.
  • Don’t be ‘flashy.’ Keep your precious belongings (especially jewelry) at home.
  • Ask for help by yelling as loud as possible if you feel you’re in danger. Attackers hate a loud victim.

Conclusion

There you have it.

Today’s article should provide you with all the tools you need to get started with walking in no time.

The rest is really up to you.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep Walking Strong

David D.