In this Article
How do I get started?
For beginners who are concerned about their motivation or ability to walk far, I recommend the "five minutes out, five minutes back" plan. Just like it sounds, you walk out for five minutes, turn around, and walk back. If you feel ambitious, you can start with 10 minutes out, 10 minutes back, and off you go about your day! Increase by two to three minutes per week and before you know it you'll be up to 30 minutes. It sounds too simple to be true, but this is a realistic and achievable way to get started, and if you follow it, you'll be walking plenty before you know it.
Consider power-walking if you want to increase your speed. Start with your normal walking pace for five to 10 minutes as a warm-up and then try your skill at power-walking. You'll be surprised how exhausting power-walking can be, so start with 10-15 minutes the first few times out and finish up your 30 minutes with your normal walking pace so you don't over do it.
Once you reach a baseline of 30 minutes of power-walking, you can speed up even more by training with intervals. Intervals are where you set up work to active rest ratios (work:active rest) to push your body and improve your cardiorespiratory fitness. Here's an example of how to do intervals.
Here's an example of an interval training workout for someone who walks for 30 minutes at 3.5 mph.
Your fitness will substantially improve after six to eight weeks if you continue with this type of training. You may even notice more endurance after just one or two sessions.
I suggest the following five simple stretches before and after you walk. Ease into each stretch until you feel the tension in the muscle you want to stretch and hold until it feels looser.
Hamstrings (back of legs)
Planning your walks
I recommend setting a weekly plan for walking if you struggle with motivation or sticking with it. Planning increases compliance. Write down the day(s) of the week you'll walk, the time of day, how many minutes, and where you'll do it (location). Set and review your weekly plan every week for three months and then reevaluate at that time.