Creating your daily walk routine_How do I get started?
Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. This is especially important if you have not been regularly active or have some chronic illnesses that may limit the amount of time you should exercise. Make sure to talk to your doctor first if you have arthritis, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain pulmonary conditions .
After you’ve been cleared by your doctor, simply put on a pair of well-fitting, supportive, and comfortable shoes and start walking.
- Try to walk 30 minutes, 5 to 7 days per week. If you feel you don’t have the time or the endurance, break the 30 minutes into three sessions of 10 minutes each. No matter what, take it slow.
- When you start walking, you might only be able to walk a certain distance. One sign to slow down is when you are unable to talk out loud without needing to catch your breath. Slowly increase your walking time, speed, or frequency.
- If you are using a pedometer and are new to a walking program, start low and go slow by increasing your number of steps by 1000 per day over the course of 2 weeks to reach your goal of 10,000.
Below is a sample walking plan for beginners:
- Initial goal: Walk at a comfortable pace for about 10 minutes, three times a day 5 to 7 days per week (for example, to a neighbor’s house and back).
- Step it up: Walk at a comfortable pace for 15 minutes twice a day (for example, walking to the end of the street and back).
- Add distance: Walk for 15 minutes twice a day to a distance of a street and a half. (This means you will have to walk a little faster to cover this increase in distance.)
- Increase frequency: Walk the new distance three times (three laps) once a day in less than 30 minutes.
CREATING YOUR DAILY WALK ROUTINE
How do I keep myself motivated to walk?
- Keep track of your progress. Wear an inexpensive pedometer or other device to help keep track of your steps, or a wear a watch to keep track of your time. Set a daily or weekly goal, and try to improve this number.
- Make it a fun challenge to beat your prior goals, or use these pedometers to start friendly competitions with friends or coworkers. Monthly “step challenges” can really motivate activity in a group.
- Listen to podcasts or your favorite music.
- Change your route; change your scenery.
- Walk up and down hills or other new, more vigorous terrain.
Remember, walking is free. There are no costly fitness center membership fees. Reward yourself with the money saved when you meet your goals.
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