Want to step it up a notch? Start with this walking schedule and keep building as you get more fit.

Walking is a gentle, low-impact cardio exercise that can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health. It’s safe and simple. And regular brisk walking can provide many of the benefits of more vigorous exercises, such as jogging.

Try this 10-week walking schedule

Not sure how to get started? This 10-week walking schedule can put you on the path to better fitness and health. Before starting this program, check with your doctor.

Week Walking schedule

week       # of days a week                 Weekly Totalstart-a-walking-program
1                15 minutes, 2 days                     30 minutes
2                15 minutes, 3 days                    45 minutes
3                20 minutes, 3 days                    60 minutes
4                25 minutes, 3 days                    75 minutes
5 & 6         30 minutes, 3 days                    90 minutes
7 & 8         30 minutes, 4 days                    120 minutes
9 & 10       30 minutes, 5 days                    150 minutes

*Doesn’t include warm-up and cool-down time.

Once you get started, follow these tips to prevent pain and injuries:

Start slow and easy. Unless you’re a seasoned fitness walker, follow our schedule to give yourself several weeks to work up to 30 minutes or more five days a week.
Dress appropriately. Wear comfortable walking shoes that fit well, along with loose-fitting clothing and layers to adjust to changes in temperature.
Warm up. Spend five to 10 minutes walking slowly — or walk in place — to reduce your risk of injury.
Stretch. After warming up, stretch your muscles for about five minutes before walking. Don’t stretch unless you’ve warmed up first.
Maintain good posture. Hold your head high, swing your arms naturally and gently tighten your stomach muscles.
Assess your intensity. If you’re so out of breath that you can’t carry on a conversation, you’re probably walking too fast.
Track your progress. Track how many steps or miles you walk and how long it takes — a pedometer is a great tool.
Make walking fun. Plan several different routes for variety. Listen to your favorite music. Invite friends or family to join you.
Cool it. After walking, cool down for five to 10 minutes. Walk slower than you were. Stretch your calf muscles, quadriceps (upper thighs), hamstrings and back. This after-workout stretch allows your heart rate and muscles to return to normal.

The most important part of any exercise plan is making sure you stick with it. To stay motivated, be patient and flexible. If you don’t meet your daily goal, do the best you can, and get back to your regular walking routine the next day. Remember how good it feels after you’ve had a refreshing walk. Plan several different routes for variety, and make walking a social event — invite friends or family to join you. Once you take that first step, you’ll be on your way to an important destination — better health.

 

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