Walking is easy, inexpensive and amazingly good for almost everyone. Some benefits of walking include:
- Burns calories
- Strengthens back muscles and bones
- Easy on your joints
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
- Shapes and tones your legs
- Reduces risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer
- Reduces stress
- Improves sleep
- Improves mood
- Can be done almost anywhere
- Requires no equipment
- It’s free
Start a Walking Program Using a Fitness Tracker
Start out by wearing your fitness tracker every day. Do not change your normal routine. At the end of each day record the number of steps you walked that day. Reset your fitness tracker after recording the number of steps. Do this for the entire first two-week period.
Record the highest number of steps you walked in one day. This will be your goal for the next two weeks.
- For the next two weeks strive to walk this number of steps each day. Keep track of the number of steps you walk each day by writing them down.
At the end of the two-week period review your steps for each day. If you have walked your goal number of steps (or more) for at least 8 of the days you are ready to progress. Congratulations! Add 500 steps to your goal for the next two-week period. If you haven't achieved your goal number of steps for at least 8 days, keep this number of steps for your goal for the next two weeks as well.
Continue in this manner until you reach 10,000 steps per day.
- In the first two weeks, your maximum number of steps per day was 2,500 steps.
- For weeks 3 and 4, try to walk 2,500 steps each day. Log the number of steps you actually take each day. During this period you were successful in walking 2,500 steps or more on 11 days.
- For weeks 5 and 6 add 500 steps so your new goal is 3,000 steps per day. At the end of this two-week period you determined that on 12 of the 14 days you were successful in walking 3,000 steps.
- For weeks 7 and 8 you add another 500 steps for your new goal of 3,500 steps per day.
If …. during weeks 5 and 6 you only walked 3,000 steps on 7 of the days you would keep your goal at 3,000 steps for weeks 7 and 8.
- You need a good pair of shoes.
- Walk briskly — remember this is exercise. You should feel like you are working somewhat hard, but you should not be short of breath. You should be able to carry on a conversation.
- Consider pain a warning sign. If you experience any discomfort that concerns you, check with your physician.
- It takes 6 months to develop a new routine — pledge to stick with it at least 6 months.
- If you skip a few days — the sooner you get back to your exercise routine the more likely your are to get back to it. If you continue to skip days you will find yourself in a downward spiral and will be more likely to abandon the program.