Body

Walking Program

Have you not exercised for a while?  Considering taking up walking?  Not only does walking not require equipment, it is easy to start and a great simple way to start exercises.  All you require is a pair of comfortable walking shoes and you are ready to go.  Undoubtedly, another great benefit of walking is that is a weight bearing exercise which is crucial for bone health.

Any form of exercise relies on gradually building up and allowing the body to adapt to gradually improve.  While it might sound silly or even ridiculous, given that walking is incredibly repetitive, there is a risk of injury if done incorrectly or too ambitiously.  Common walking injuries that can occur if not done appropriately can include:

  • Soft tissue injuries such as achilles or calf pain.

  • Hip or knee pain associated with wear and tear or arthritis.

  • Foot pain such as plantar fasciitis.

  • Increased pain associated with bunions.

If you haven’t exercised for a while, a great recommendation would be to discuss it with your health professional prior to starting.  Your doctor and/or physiotherapist will be able to identify and discuss any issues that may influence or affect your walking.

How fast should I walk?

Where we start with your walking is going to vary from person to person.  The speed and intensity at which you walk will also be variable.  A great starting point I suggest is that you start with low to moderate intensity.  What does that mean?  I recommend using the ‘talk test’.  Try walking at an intensity and speed where you may be slightly breathless but could still maintain a conversation if you were talking to a friend.

6 week beginners walking program

Depending your current level of exercise will dictate where you start.  The program outlined below would be a great starting point for those that haven’t exercised for a little while.

Week 1:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
10 – 15 min Rest 10 – 15 min Rest 10 – 15 min Rest Rest

Week 2:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
10 – 15 min Rest 10 – 15 min Rest 10 – 15 min Rest 10 – 15 min

Week 3:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
20 – 25 min Rest 20 – 25 min Rest 20 – 25 min Rest Rest

Week 4:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
20 – 25 min Rest 20 – 25 min Rest 20 – 25 min Rest 10 – 15 min

Week 5:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
20 – 25 min Rest 20 – 25 min Rest 20 – 25 min Rest 20 – 25 min

Week 6:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
20 – 25 min Rest 20 – 25 min Rest 20 – 25 min Rest 30 – 35 min

Remember, everyone is going to be different.  Our six-week plan is designed as a guided program which gradually builds up both the length of walking and the number of days.  The main goal is to ensure that you gradually build up and stick to your plan.  I would regularly recommend doing fewer walks per week or less time if you don’t feel you will be able to maintain your consistency.  If your walking program is too sporadic or inconsistent, it is not only going to be ineffective but you will actually increase the risk of injury.

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