There is no question about it, simply starting an exercise program is one of the hardest parts of the entire process of getting fit. So feel good (seriously) that you’re taking this first step–literally.
As a supporter of the Together Counts™ program, we realize that in order to succeed, most of us have to choose something that’s simple to do; cheap or free; doesn’t take up a lot of time; and doesn’t force you to buy or use a lot of fancy equipment. That’s why walking is still one of the best “gateways” to weight loss, fitness, and getting healthier.
Its benefits include: getting your heart rate up a bit (the faster you walk, the more beats per minute for your heart); it builds muscle tone; it burns calories; and you already know how to do it. Here are a few tips for how to get started:
- Pay attention to the only piece of equipment you’ll need: shoes. Having the right footwear can help you avoid hurting yourself or just having sore feet or other pain that may sideline you. Visit your local run/walk specialty store to get properly fitted in shoes with the right amount of cushioning and support for your particular foot type. Keep in mind that many stores fit walkers in running shoes because they’re often lighter and more comfortable—plus it gives you the option to run if that’s your eventual goal (we can help you out with that). There’s no bigger key to success in a walking program than happy feet, so treat them well.
- Once you hit the road with your kicks, remember to drink plenty of fluids. As you walk longer and further, you may want to bring something to drink with you, but in the beginning, simply hydrating at home before and after you walk is enough.
- Be sure to check in with your doctor and start slowly. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day; and neither is fitness. A gradual progression will help you avoid injuries and stay engaged as you see real results with each added step.
To print the Walking Program training plan, click here.
Ready to Take The Next Step?
Here’s how to keep improving if the program above is too easy and/or boring for you.
After you’ve done the plan above for 30 days/1 month, try increasing your Monday-Friday walks by 5 minutes each week. Add 10 minutes each to the Saturday walk until you hit 60 minutes, which you can stay at until you begin jogging.
ih8exercise.com aims to make exercise simpler, safer, and more enjoyable for the millions of Americans who want to be more physically active and like it more. Our goal is to contribute to ending the epidemic of sedentary lifestyle using realistic solutions to making exercise a regular part of more people’s lives and a sense of humor.
For more tips on getting up and getting active, take a look at these other posts from Together Counts!