Fitness

Better Health: Starting a Walking Exercise Routine

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For individuals who have decided to start exercising for fitness and health, walking is a great place to start. Can planning a walking exercise schedule help individuals maintain a fitness routine and improve endurance and speed quicker?

Walking Exercise Planning Schedule

While any amount of walking benefits health, individuals can increase the benefits by walking more per week or by increasing the pace. Brisk walking for 30 minutes per day, totaling 150 minutes per week, is recommended by health experts to decrease risks for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other conditions. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2022)

  • Individuals with ongoing health conditions should talk to their doctor before starting any new exercise program.
  • Beginners are encouraged to focus on using proper walking posture and technique to steadily improve strength and endurance.
  • The increased duration or intensity can help if weight loss is a goal.
  • Improving diet is also necessary for the best results.
  • Individuals can build healthy walking habits by tracking walks.

Schedule

Checklist

  • Individuals can walk outdoors, indoors, or on a treadmill.
  • Wear proper athletic shoes and clothing.
  • Check walking posture.
  • Walk at an easy pace for a couple of minutes before picking up speed.

First Week

An example of what a walking exercise schedule can look like, but it’s advised to consult a professional trainer to develop a personalized fitness plan.

  • Start with a 15-minute walk at an easy pace.
  • Walk five days the first week.
  • Building a healthy habit is the goal, so consistency is important.
  • Spread out rest days, like making days 3 and 6 rest days.
  • Weekly goal – 60 to 75 minutes

Second Week

  • Add five minutes, so the walk time increases gradually.
    Or, individuals can extend more on some days, followed by a rest day.
  • Weekly goal – 80 to 100 minutes

Third Week

  • Add five more minutes with each session, so the walk increases to 25 minutes.
  • Weekly goal – 100 to 125 minutes

Fourth Week

  • Add another five minutes to increase the walk to 30 minutes.
  • Weekly goal – 120 to 150 minutes

Individuals who find any week to be difficult are suggested to repeat that week instead of adding time until they are able to progress naturally. Once able to walk for 30 minutes at a time comfortably, individuals are ready for a variety of different walking exercise workouts to add intensity and endurance. A weekly walking plan can include:

  • Longer walks
  • Higher-intensity walks
  • Speed-building walks

Beginner Walking Speed

An individual’s objective should be brisk walking to achieve a moderate-intensity workout. This is the intensity that is associated with the most health benefits.

Brisk walking should feel like:

  • Breathing is heavier than normal.
  • Able to carry a full conversation while walking.
  • Not out of breath. (Siti Ruzita Mahmod et al., 2018)
  • If the speed is slower and the heart rate is lower during the initial weeks, this is normal.
  1. The first goal is to walk for 30 to 60 minutes a day without injury.
  2. Adding speed and intensity gradually.
  3. Staying consistent in regularly walking before trying to walk faster and longer.
  4. Using proper walking posture and arm motion will help in faster walking.
  5. To reduce the risk of injury, gradually increase the length of the walk or pace, only changing one component at a time.

Individuals may consider joining a walking group or club to have others to walk with and an incentive to maintain regular walking.


Home Exercises for Pain Relief


References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need? Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Measuring Physical Activity Intensity. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/measuring/index.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Target Heart Rate and Estimated Maximum Heart Rate. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/measuring/heartrate.htm

Mahmod, S. R., Narayanan, L. T., & Supriyanto, E. (2018). Effects of incremental cardiorespiratory exercise on the speech rate and the estimated exercise intensity using the counting talk test. Journal of physical therapy science, 30(7), 933–937. doi.org/10.1589/jpts.30.933

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The information herein on "Better Health: Starting a Walking Exercise Routine" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

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email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

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