The start of the new school year is when many of us fall back into a regular routine, which makes it the perfect time to re-establish your exercise habit. What better way to get back into the groove than by walking your way into it?
There’s no need to be overwhelmed at the thought of starting an entirely new workout program, just take it one mile at a time. Walking is fantastic exercise — not only is it great for your health, it’s free and you already know how to do it.
Keep things simple and jumpstart your fall fitness with this customizable, weekly walk plan that makes it easy to start (or resume) a regular walking routine.
Week 1: Aim for three walks this week, at 1–3 miles each day, perhaps Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you are just starting out, or resuming a regular walking plan, start with just one mile at a time. Regular walkers can jump in with 3 (or more if you are used to it!) miles.
Week 2: Aim for four walks this week, at 1–4 miles each day, perhaps Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Be sure to gradually increase your mileage each week, adding an extra mile only on one or two days, until you feel ready for more.
Week 3: Aim for five walks this week, at 1–4 miles each day, perhaps Monday through Friday. Try alternating longer mileage days with shorter sessions. For instance, walk for 4 miles on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 2 miles on Tuesday and Thursday.
Week 4: Aim for five walks this week, at 1–5 miles each day, perhaps Monday through Friday. Pump up your pace with intervals during your shorter-mileage sessions. For instance, if you are aiming for 2 miles on Tuesday and Thursday, try alternating 3 minutes of a brisk pace with 30–60 seconds of a jog or power-walking speed.
The days are suggestions, so feel free to switch up the days of the week you walk if that’s more convenient for your schedule. You can also break up your miles — they don’t have to be consecutive to count. If your goal for the day is 3 miles, try 1 mile in the morning, 1 mile at lunchtime and 1 after dinner. Whatever days and times work best is the best way for you to walk.
It’s always a good idea to start and end your walks with a brief warmup and cooldown to avoid muscle strain. At the beginning of your walk, focus on building steadily, progressing your speed from an easy-to-brisk pace within 2–3 minutes. Focus on maintaining good posture by drawing your abs gently into your spine and concentrate on pushing off through your entire foot with each step.
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To wind down your walk, finish up with about 2–3 minutes of striding at an easy pace to lower your heart and breathing rates. You may also want to add this series of chair stretches designed to stretch your walking muscles to wrap up.
Can’t get outside or on a treadmill? Fit in your miles anytime — rain or shine — from home with my “Walk On: 5 Mix and Match Miles” DVD! You can do a single mile, try one of our 2-, 3- or 4-mile premixes, or create your own custom walk with our programmable DVD menu (no equipment required).
Thanks for joining us, we’re so glad you are here. Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so let’s start walking!
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