Walking for health and fitness – everything you need to know

Walking is a great way to start getting active. It’s something we all do anyway, it doesn’t need any special equipment and you can do it even if you only have 5 or 10 minutes to spare. It’s no secret that inactivity is an enormous problem in Western societies, which contributes to many health problems. Walking for health doesn’t just help with weight control, there’s a long list of benefits including:

  • Makes the heart stronger
  • Improves circulation
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves mood
  • Strengthens muscles, ligaments and tendons
  • Improves flexibility
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Increases bone mineral density (meaning reduced risk of osteoporosis)
  • Improves joint mobility
  • Slows down ageing

Start by making a plan

Although walking is a natural everyday activity, if you want to start walking for health and fitness, then it’s better to have some sort of plan or program. Things to consider are:

  • What time of day you’ll walk
  • How often you’ll walk
  • How long your walks will be
  • What your walking route will be
  • What you will wear
  • Whether you will time your walks in minutes or use a step counter
  • How hard you want to work – do you want to do slow, medium or fast walks, or a combination?
  • If you want a plan to progress over time, so that your fitness keeps improving
  • Whether you want to keep any sort of diary or log of your walks to help motivate you

The following articles, courses and products cover some or all of these points.  All the programs come with printable schedules.

Walking for health round up

Lose weight walking in 6 weeksThe Walking for Weight Loss program covers all you need to get started with fitness walking.  The post includes a printable schedule and log sheets for the 6 week program.

Walking for health email courseSign up for this free 8 week beginners Walking for Health and Fitness e-mail course. This is similar to the Walking for Weight loss course, but is a slightly more gentle introduction to walking for health and fitness.  It is delivered to your in-box in 8 weekly instalments.

Walk planA 4 week interval walking program, which increases number of steps while keeping the time the same.  This is done by increasing steps at the faster speed and reducing steps at the slower speed each week.

Benefits of walking for fitnessAn article which goes through the benefits of walking and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using a treadmill rather than walking outside.

Plan a walking routeA tutorial which you through using the online route planner Mapometer to plan your walking route.  (A print version of this tutorial is included in the Walking for Weight Loss e-book.)

A simple 20 minute interval walk that you can easily fit into your daily schedule.

Take your fitness walking to the next levelIdeas for regular walkers who are looking to challenge themselves more.  The article discusses ways of getting more out of walking for health, without having to walk more often or for longer.

How to lose weight by brisk walkingThis plan gives you a different walk for each day of the week. There’s a mix of 10 and 20 minute walks at 3 different effort levels.

 

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Everything you need to know to get started with walking for health and fitness. A round-up of programs and articles, including printable program schedules. #walking