It’s Week 12 of 52 Weeks to a Healthier You! and we’re finally ready to get moving! I know you probably thought we’d never around to actually exercising, right? Well, here’s the good news: We’re starting with walking.
Walking is an excellent, low-impact exercise for young and old. It’s easy to do, it costs almost nothing (except a good pair of athletic shoes), and you can usually step outside your door to get started! Here’s a summary on how to start walking for fitness and how to stick with your routine for good!
Disclaimer: I am not a health or fitness expert. Please consult a medical professional before starting any new health or fitness regimen.
Image: AlexMaster / Dollar Photo Club
Why Walking is a Great Exercise
Some fitness buffs look down on walking, because it’s not as physically strenuous as running or lifting weights. But when you’re just getting started with a healthy lifestyle, you don’t really want something strenuous. You want something that’s doable.
Walking is doable. And since you’re avoiding stress on your joints, it’s much easier to maintain for the long run. You can always start running later if you want. 😉
If you want to get the most health benefits out of walking, though, do it at a brisk pace. A slow stroll isn’t really going to cut it, especially since we want to get our heart rates up enough to actually burn calories.
If you’re unable to walk briskly, The New York Times suggests using a stopwatch to check your walking speed per mile and then consulting a doctor if your pace is 24 minutes or more per mile.
How to Start Walking for Fitness
Okay, so we know walking is great, but how can we actually get started? Runners World recommends starting with 15 minutes a day and building slowly from there, depending on how you feel after each outing.
The article also says that adding walking to the natural rhythm of your day will help you stick with the habit. If you’re already an early riser, then first thing in the morning is probably your style. If you prefer evenings, don’t make yourself get up with the rooster. You’ll hate every second of your workout.
If you prefer to have a structured walking plan to follow, the American Heart Association offers a free, six week beginners walking plan that you can download and print. Try keeping it on your fridge and checking each day as you complete it.
Do you walk for fitness? What routine do you follow? Share your tips in the comments!
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