Walking is a form of aerobic exercise
and is one of the easiest ways to increase your physical activity and improve
your health. Physical activity increases your heart rate, strengthens your heart, and increases
blood circulation through your body, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your
organs. Exercise also increases your lungs’ ability to take in oxygen, lowers
blood pressure, helps to reduce body fat, and improves blood sugar and
Have a checkup before beginning an exercise
program. If you have heart problems, your doctor may want to do tests to find
out how much activity your heart can safely handle.
slowly at first, with a warm-up in the beginning, a faster pace in the middle,
and a cooldown at the end.
To stay motivated, walk with friends,
coworkers, or pets. Set goals you can reach.
Use a phone app or pedometer to
count your steps. Wear it all day and try to take at least 2,000 more steps a
day than you normally do, and gradually increase your steps over
Set a goal. Try to walk at a moderate activity level for at least 2Â½ hours a week. One way to do this is to walk 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week.
How can I stay motivated with a walking program?
of the best ways to stay motivated to walk is to include other people. Ask
friends and coworkers to join you. Join a walking group or club.
Use a phone app or buy a pedometer. Use
it every day, and count your steps. The first time you use it, count how many
steps you normally take in a day. Set a goal for increasing it each day or
week. Try to start with an increase of 2,000 steps a day and work toward
10,000. Get others to join you and set goals as a group.
before or after work or on your lunch break. Instead of taking a snack or
coffee break, take a walk break.
If the weather is bad, use a treadmill. Or take
comfortable shoes to the mall, and walk several laps inside.
work, school, the grocery store, or a restaurant.
Walk around your
neighborhood, around an entire park, or to do errands.
walks on your business calendar. Turn a walk into a brainstorming session with
Wear comfortable shoes and socks that cushion your
Drink plenty of water. Take a bottle with you when you
Be safe, and know your surroundings. Walk in a well-lighted,
Plan family outings around walks
Take your dog on a walk.
Set a goal to
participate in an organized fitness walk.
Other Works Consulted
American College of Sports Medicine (2010). Exercise prescription for patients with cardiac disease. In WR Thompson et al., eds., ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 8th ed., pp. 207-224. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Eckel RH, et al. (2013). 2013 AHA/ACC guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/11/11/01.cir.0000437740.48606.d1.citation. Accessed December 5, 2013.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008). 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (ODPHP Publication No. U0036). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Available online: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC – Cardiology, Electrophysiology Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine