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Walking Guide for Beginners

Morning Walk
Last Updated on July 16, 2020 by Ashwini G

Walking is a great exercise, and if you want to improve your health and overall fitness, then this exercise is a great option. However, you need a plan of action before you begin. By walking regularly, you will be able to improve your speed and duration. When you start walking exercise for the first time, it is important that you work on keeping a good posture as well as technique. As you practice more and more, you will be able to build up your endurance in due time. If you start walking for at least 30 minutes on weekdays, you would have walked for at least 150 minutes a week. These 150 minutes of walking exercise is something that health experts recommend, as doing so greatly reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and other related health conditions. If you double this duration to one hour a day, you will find that you are able to reduce weight easily and have better overall fitness. One of the best ways to reduce your weight and improve your fitness level is walking for an hour, five days a week. There are numerous benefits of walking, and you don’t need any kind of specialized equipment for this exercise. Still, you need to consult a doctor if you have a medical condition before you begin walking or any other kind of exercise. This walking guide for beginners would teach you some of the most important aspects of this workout.

Walking Guide for Beginners

Before you proceed with this walking guide for beginners, we need to understand a few things. If you are planning to perform walking exercise for the first time, then you should start at a slower pace before gradually speeding up. For better comfort, wear athletic shoes and proper clothes. The best place to perform walking exercise outdoors, but you can also walk inside your house or on a treadmill. For the best results, you should follow this schedule religiously.

First Week

During the first week, every day, walk for 15 minutes at a slow pace. You need to do this for the first five days without failing. At this stage, you are building a habit, and for that, you need to be consistent. Rest days are necessary, and you need to spread them evenly for maximum efficiency. So, walk for 15 minutes for the first three days, and then rest on the fourth day. Again, walk for fifteen minutes on the fifth and sixth day and then take rest on the seventh day.  Taking rest is important as it allows your body to relax and heal. By doing this, you increase the efficiency of your exercise regime.

During the first week, you need to walk for 60 to 75 minutes in total.

Second Week

From the second week onwards, increase your walking duration by five minutes. Keep walking at a slow pace for twenty minutes in total for five days. Ensure that you rest properly and maintain a healthy diet. As you are close to building a habit, you can try to walk for up to 30 minutes, the day after a rest day.

In the second week, your target is to walk 75 to 100 minutes in total.

Third Week

In the third week, you need to increase your walking duration by five minutes. Now, you will walk for 25 minutes a day, five days a week with day four and day seven as rest days. By this time, you will notice that you are able to walk for 15 to 20 minutes without tiring out. This means your body is adapting to a rigorous walking regime. As mentioned earlier, ensure a healthy diet to get the maximum benefit of this workout. You are aiming to achieve 110 to 130 minutes of walking time during the third week of this exercise plan.

Fourth Week

As you approach the end of the first month of your walking exercise schedule, you need to start walking for 30 minutes during the weekdays. By this time, you have developed a habit and won’t need any reminders to begin exercising. At the same time, you will also start to feel healthier too. In the fourth week of this exercise schedule, you need to walk 130 to 150 minutes in total.

Dealing with Difficulties

There is a possibility that you were unable to exercise properly during a particular week. In such a situation, you need to repeat the same pattern in the next week instead of increasing the duration of your exercise. In certain cases, you might not be able to walk for 20 minutes in the second week, the recommended duration. You need to repeat the plan for that week to ensure that you are ready to increase the walking duration in the next week.

Next Stage

Once you are able to walk for 30 to 60 minutes without any difficulty, you can focus on increasing your pace or try to perform different workouts. As with the walking exercise, you need to show dedication and follow a pattern to achieve these goals. The next preferable step would be to increase your walking speed, and then you can focus on walking for longer distances, such as a five-kilometer walk.

Walking Pace for the Beginners

At the start of this training, you should try to walk at your regular walking speed, especially during the first week. From the second week onwards, your aim is to walk at medium-intensity. By doing this exercise, you will ensure that you are getting the maximum benefit from this exercise. In a moderate-intensity walk, your average speed needs to be around 5 km/h. At the same time, your heart rate needs to be around 55 to 60 beats a minute. The indications of a brisk walk include-

  • Heavier than normal breathing.
  • You are able to talk properly while maintaining the pace.
  • You are not feeling breathless.

It is totally fine if you are unable to reach the recommended speed and heart rate during the initial stages of this exercise. First and foremost, you need to achieve a walking time of 30 to 60 minutes a day without getting tired or injuring yourself. Speed and intensity of walk do not concern you at the early stages. Surprisingly, walking with a proper posture and arm motion helps in increasing your walking speed without any difficulties. However, some people might find it difficult to walk for the recommended duration. Suppose you find yourself in such a situation. Slow down as it is not necessary that you achieve the target in your first attempt. This is crucial for people who have an underlying condition. Overexerting yourself could lead to a stroke or a heart attack. Generally, health experts say that you should increase your walking time step by step and add a maximum of five minutes per week. If you are aiming to achieve more, you can also try to increase your walking distance. There are many training routines that help you achieve targets such as walking 5 km or walking at speeds in excess of 5 km/hr.

Important Tips for Beginners

Start Slowly: You might think that walking is as simple as breathing. Still, your body needs some time to adapt to the extra workload you are putting on yourself. So, don’t start a walking program with the aim of walking 5 km in an hour. In case you don’t exercise regularly or haven’t exercised before, it is recommended to start slow. 15 minutes’ walk per day, for 5-days a week, is a good start.

Consider Your Starting Level: Are you able to sustain a 15 minutes’ walk per day without getting too fatigued or injuring yourself? If you find it challenging to do so, start by walking 5-10 minutes per day for the first week. On the other hand, if you can walk for 15 minutes without any issue, keep doing so for a week, and then increase your time by 5 minutes during the next week.

Discover the Appropriate Pace: A lot of people ask what is the perfect pace for walking. They receive different answers from different sources. However, there is no such thing as the perfect walking pace. You need to walk at a pace that is comfortable for you. The right pace is the pace you can hold on to for 15 minutes without tiring out and can gradually be increased 30 minutes. A perfect pace should force you to take deep breaths, but it should leave you gasping for air or make you uncomfortable. At this pace, you should be able to hold a conversation without any difficulty. However, if you can sing properly at this speed, you can increase your pace a little.

Try to Plan a Course: In the early stages, you should not be concerned with the distance that you are covering. The time you spend walking is more important than the distance you cover. However, you would like to know where you are going and what places you have already visited. The best way to do so is with the help of tools such as a Pedometer. You can get a dedicated pedometer with a GPS to help you track your activity better or download apps on your phone or get a smartwatch for the same.

Challenge Yourself, But Don’t Go Overboard: A lot of people start exercising to lose weight. If you want to reach a level where you can walk at least 30 minutes and preferably 60 minutes per day without tiring during the weekdays, you can achieve that goal, but it won’t happen within a couple of weeks. You need to reach that level gradually. Start by increasing the walking duration with 5 minutes each week. You can also try to increase the duration by 10 minutes, but don’t overexert yourself if you are unable to do so. It is better to increase your walking duration by 10 minutes in two weeks instead of getting injured for a week while trying to achieve the same within a week. You need to consistently increase this duration without risking injury and fatigue. It is okay if you take up to a month to reach a stage where you can walk for 30 minutes without tiring.

Track the Progress: Tracking your progress is not only necessary while chasing fitness goals, but also for financial goals or personal goals. When you track your progress, you increase your chances of reaching your target. So, keep a record of your workouts as it gives you valuable insight into what you’re doing and what you are supposed to do. You can look at this progress report to make adjustments to ensure steady progress and reach your goal in the given timeframe. There are lots of apps and methods to keep track of your progress. So, don’t forget to do so.

Think Smart: You might have heard the famous Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare. The fable teaches us that a slow and steady tortoise beats the speedy hare who is distracted and fails to achieve its goal. Walking is considered to be a moderate exercise regime. It doesn’t promise that you will lose 5 kg in a week. However, when you combine moderate walking with a healthy diet, you start developing a habit that will surely help you lose weight over time and keep you fit and healthy in the long run.

Beginners Walking Guide FAQs

How to Begin a Walking Exercise Regime?

Start by walking at a slow pace for 10 to 15 minutes on weekdays for the first week. From the second week onwards, increase the duration by 5 minutes per week until you reach a stage where you can walk for 30 minutes without exhaustion.

Is It Possible to Lose Weight through Walking?

Yes, walking helps burn fat, but the process is a lot slower as compared to other rigorous exercises. So, you need to walk regularly for months if you want to reduce weight.

Do I Need Walking Shoes to Perform Walking Exercise?

No, walking shoes are not mandatory if you want to walk. However, these shoes provide additional support and padding to make this exercise a lot more comfortable.

What Should Be My Walking Speed?

There is no such thing as ideal walking speed. Start walking at the pace you are comfortable with, and gradually increase the speed over a couple of weeks to reach a stage where you are breathing heavily but feel comfortable while walking.

Do I Need to Consult a Doctor Before I Start Walking Exercise?

It is not necessary to consult a doctor unless you have any health-related problems. Walking is perfectly safe, but you need to be careful not to overexert yourself.

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, a person who exercises regularly or a beginner. Walking is an exercise that helps you achieve weight loss goals and live a healthier lifestyle without much hassle. The exercise is simple, and you don’t require a gym membership or expensive equipment. All you need for the walking exercise is a place to walk and maybe a decent pair of walking shoes to provide you maximum comfort and support during the exercise.

So, start walking exercise today as it has lots of benefits. However, don’t forget to consult your doctor to know more about the effects of walking on your health, especially if you suffer from a medical condition.

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