According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA), healthy adults need moderate aerobic exercise five times a week or intense aerobic exercise three times a week. Creating a walking plan is the perfect solution to meet those requirements. You need not buy expensive gadgets or join a gym. Walking is easy on your joints, and almost anyone can do it. Sixty minutes of walking a day is a great goal, and not so hard to achieve.
Finding time for a 60-minute exercise class at the gym can be challenging. The good news about walking is that you can do it on and off all day. Park your car far from the entrance to work and walk through the parking lot. Instead of sending an email, walk to your coworker’s office. Leave the car behind, and walk with your children to the local park. Before you know it, you will have walked 60 minutes during the course of your day.
Walking is an inexpensive sport. All you need is a good pair of comfortable walking shoes or sneakers. You can also splurge on a good pedometer to keep track of your steps.
Set realistic goals on how often and how far you are going to walk weekly. If you haven’t done much walking, start slowly. Check with your doctor before you start any exercise program.
Change the Program
Introduce interval training into your program. Start out walking at a slow pace. After you have warmed up, walk faster for 5 minutes, slow down again and then speed up for another 5 minutes. Keep this up for at least 20 minutes.
Take to the Hills
Find a hill or a set of stairs to increase your aerobic workout. Changing the terrain can keep you interested and prevent boredom from setting in.
Turn a lunch or dinner date into an opportunity for some exercise. Instead of sitting at a restaurant, meet with your friend and go for a walk.
Plan a hike with your family on the weekend. Go to a local park or nature preserve. Many public parks have trails. Check out Local Hikes (localhikes.com) for ideas in your home state. Enjoy nature: Embrace the tree hugger in you, and get your exercise.
Unlike some forms of exercise, you can walk anywhere. In fact, you can exercise while in the shopping mall, at the local museum, on the beach, in a local park or even around the house while vacuuming. Just remember to keep a log of how long you have been walking, so that you can track your progress.
Early Riser or Night Owl?
Change the times that you walk. Walk some days in the early morning. Other days, plan a walk in the evening. Again, change keeps you from becoming bored, which is the death of many exercise programs.
Walk for a Cause
Research charity walks in your neighborhood. Training for the event will motivate you to keep on your weekly plan. Avon Walk for Breast Cancer (avonwalk.org) is one example of a well-known charity walk.