Photo Credit: Jacobs Stock Photography/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
Before you start your walking workout, let us help you find the right fitness plan for you.
Workouts don’t have to entail weights, the Step or the gym. From a leisurely circuit around the mall to a walk-run around your block on a nice day, walking at any level is a great way to relax, re-energize yourself, and melt away fat and calories. Whether you’re walking to your car or motoring on foot to a meeting that started five minutes ago, there’s always room to squeeze in some quality exercise when you just don’t think you have the time.
Walking is a smart way to exercise because it's easy to do and kind to your joints and doesn't require a lot of fancy equipment. It's also an incredibly versatile workout. In fact, there are four levels of walking to choose from when building your workout plan:
- Lifestyle Walking: Casual walking when you stroll through the park or mall
- Fitness Walking: Treadmill or a brisk walk through the neighborhood
- High-Energy Walk: Race walking at a lightning-quick pace
- Walk/Run: Alternating running and walking intervals to spike intensity
Which level of walking is right for you?
It depends on your fitness level, your ability and your preferences. Most people will do a combination of Lifestyle and Fitness walking; those who are interested in serious weight loss or have a need for speed will sprinkle High-Energy walking and Walk/Run into their routines. To help layout your walking plan, focus on F.I.T.:
- Frequency: Number of times per week you decide to walk. Ideally, 3-5 times a week will lead you down the path to your goal.
- Intensity: The number of times you walk per week may be dictated by your exercise intensity, or how hard you walk. In general, Lifestyle walkers should walk more frequently because they aren't pushing very hard. Fitness, High-Energy and Walk/Run walkers can get by with fewer workouts because they operate at a higher intensity.
- Time: How long you walk each day depends on your level of fitness. In general, start walking for at least 10 minutes and then increase your time over the course of a several weeks. To lose weight, your ultimate goal should be 60 minutes of walking on any given day, which you can break into shorter increments of 10-15 minutes if you need to.