If you are new to working out, walking is a great way to begin your fitness journey. It’s accessible - all you need is a good pair of shoes - and offers an opportunity to get outside and enjoy the summer weather. Plus, walking boasts a myriad of health benefits.
According to the Mayo Clinic, along with helping you get in shape, walking can prevent and manage heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. And there is nothing like a walk in the sunshine to put you in a good mood.
PHOTOS: Hit your stride with the 5-Week Walking Workout Plan
Perhaps you’ve already heard about hitting 10,000 steps per day, and maybe you’ve even bought a pedometer. To help you keep up your walking workout and build your stamina, personal trainer and certified running coach has Beth Baker has designed a 5-week Walking Workout Plan.
Baker and her company Running Evolution have been featured in Runner’s World magazine. Baker’s goal is to reduce intimidation sometimes associated with running and walking. She empowers fitness newbies to lace up their sneakers and enjoy the health and community benefits of running and walking groups.
Baker shares her 5-Week Walking Workout Plan, plus a few guidelines and tips to consider before you get started.
Walking Plan Guidelines
• Make sure you have proper footwear. Walking and running shoes are best, so leave the cross trainers for another workout.
• While walking you should be able to hold a conversation. If you feel out of breath at any point, feel free to take a break. However, for a brisk walk you should feel your breath and pace increase. Baker says that even with a brisk walk you should still be able to say the alphabet out loud.
• Baker’s plan employs alternating brisk walks or jogs with basic walking for light interval training. This technique will help you build your stamina and even work your way up to running.
• To do this, set your watch for timed intervals. You can also find a set of trees, benches or lampposts and use them as guides to alternate your pace between brisk and basic walking. Walking uphill is another way to add intensity.
Baker's Top 3 Tips for Success
1. Lay out your clothes the night before: To tackle exercise excuses, find your shorts, shoes and socks and leave then by the bed so they are ready and waiting for you first thing you in the morning.
2. Create “Goal Cards”: When starting a program, Baker asks her clients to create goal cards. To do this, write your 3-week, 2-month and 6-month goals on a sheet of paper or a series of note cards. Write the goal as if you have already accomplished it. Also include how you will feel when you achieve your goal and the obstacles you had to overcome in the process. Example: “I am so proud of myself for committing to walking, and finishing my first 5K race walk. I am so happy my mom was able to watch my kids, and I got the support I needed. I feel great.” Baker says identifying both goals and obstacles will help you create a successful plan of action.
3. Make Facebook and your friends hold you accountable. Make a workout date to meet you friends for daily walks, or promise to post pictures of your exercise endeavors on Facebook. Employ the power of friendship (both in person and digital) for support and to keep you accountable.
5-Week Walking Workout Plan (download Word doc)
(This workout plan will have you walking four days per week)
• Week 1: Mon: 20 min Rotate jog or brisk walk 4 min/walk slow for 1 min Tue: 30 min Walk up and down hills Wed: Off Thurs: 30 Rotate jog SLOW 4min /walk 1 Fri: Off Sat: Brisk Walk 30 min Sun: Off
• Week 2: Mon: 20 min Rotate jog or brisk walk 4 min/walk slow 1min) Tue: :30 min Walk up and down hills Wed: Off Thurs: Jog SLOW 30 min (rotate jog 4mins/walk 1) Fri: Off Sat: Brisk Walk:30 min Sun: Off
• Week 3: Mon: Jog: 20 min (rotate jog or brisk walk 5 min/walk slow 1min) Tue: 30 min Walk up and down hill Wed: Off Thurs: Jog SLOW:30 min (rotate jog 4 min/walk 1 min) Fri: Off Sat: Brisk Walk 30 min Sun: Off
• Week 4 Mon: Jog: 20min (rotate jog or brisk walk 5 min/walk slow 1min) Tue: 30 min Walk up and down hills Wed: Off Thurs: Jog SLOW 30min (rotate jog 5/walk 1) Fri: Off Sat: Brisk Walk:30 min Sun: Off
• Week 5 Mon: Jog: 25 min (rotate jog or brisk walk 6 min/walk 1min) Tue: 30 min Walk up and down hills Wed: Off Thurs : Jog SLOW 35min (rotate jog 4/walk 1) Fri: Off Sat: Brisk Walk 30 min Sun: Off
So grab a friend (furry or otherwise) and head outside for a walk this summer. This 5-Week Walking Workout plan will get you on the road to great shape in no time.
You can learn more about Beth Baker and Running Evolution from her website and on social media Twitter @runningevolve and Facebook