Walking Programs

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The walking programs below are suggestions. Most walkers will begin with the Intermediate Program; the Beginning Program is typically for someone who is severely overweight or has a chronic disease or injury. It is the walkerís discretion to select the best program after seeking counsel from a primary healthcare provider.

Beginning Program (Walk on flat ground - if hills are unavoidable, go slow)

Warm Up Target Zone
Exercising
Cool Down Total Number
of Days
Week 1 walk slowly
5 minutes
walk briskly
5 minutes
walk slowly
5 minutes
15 min. 6
Week 2 walk slowly
5 minutes
walk briskly
7 minutes
walk slowly
5 minutes
17 min. 6
Week 3 walk slowly
5 minutes
walk briskly
9 minutes
walk slowly
5 minutes
19 min. 6
Week 4 walk slowly
5 minutes
walk briskly
11 minutes
walk slowly
5 minutes
21 min. 5
Week 5 walk slowly
5 minutes
walk briskly
13 minutes
walk slowly
5 minutes
23 min. 5
Week 6 walk slowly
5 minutes
walk briskly
15 minutes
walk slowly
5 minutes
25 min. 5

Intermediate Program (Gradually add hills. Be careful not to strain yourself.)

Warm Up Target Zone
Exercising
Cool Down Total Number
of Days
Week 1 walk slowly
5 minutes
walk briskly
18 minutes
walk slowly
5 minutes
28 min. 5
Week 2 walk slowly
5 minutes
walk briskly
20 minutes
walk slowly
5 minutes
30 min. 5
Week 3 walk slowly
5 minutes
walk briskly
23 minutes
walk slowly
5 minutes
33 min. 5
Week 4 walk slowly
5 minutes
walk briskly
26 minutes
walk slowly
5 minutes
36 min. 5
Week 5 walk slowly
5 minutes
walk briskly
28 minutes
walk slowly
5 minutes
38 min. 5
Week 6 walk slowly
5 minutes
walk briskly
30 minutes
walk slowly
5 minutes
40 min. 5

"Five Minutes Out, Five Minutes Back"
Adapted from Fenton M, The 90-Day Fitness Walking Program, Perigree Press, New York.

You may prefer a slightly less structured program than the one above. If so, try setting your watch and walk five minutes out and five minutes back to your original destination. Itís that simple. Do what you can to get in at least four to five 10-minute walks per week. Then try and increase by 2 Ĺ minutes each week over the next few months. Hereís what it looks like:

Week 1-2 5 minutes out, 5 minutes back
Week 3-4 7 Ĺ minutes out, 7 Ĺ minutes back
Week 5-6 10 minutes out, 10 minutes back (stay at 20 minutes for three weeks to allow your body to adapt)
Week 7 12 Ĺ minutes out, 12 Ĺ minutes back
Week 8 15 minutes out, 15 minutes back

Itís a good idea to drop back to a 7Ĺ or 10 minute out and back session once a week to give your body a break. If you find you are tired, or achy, or donít look forward to your walks, itís okay to take a few days off. Usually after a break people come back stronger than ever. Listen to your body.

Record Keeping: Use the Walking Program Log or your own diary to record your progress. Keeping records is an excellent motivational tool and will improve the likelihood of you sticking with it. Donít forget to reward yourself for work well done: A massage, a movie, a book, new clothes; they all make good rewards.