The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports reports that on average, walking one mile burns about 100 calories depending on intensity, pace, and speed. And according to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, when done briskly on a regular basis, walking can:
Decrease your risk of a heart attack
Decrease your chance of developing diabetes
Help control your weight
Improve your muscle tone
Promote your overall sense of wellness
While any increase in walking will help promote good health, walking 30 minutes a day on five or more days a week, or 10,000 steps daily, can produce the best, long term health benefits for most people.
Consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if:
you have a health condition
are taking any medications
have not done any regular physical activity for a long time
or if you’re a man over 40 or a woman over 50
Take that first step!
Get started on the path to improved health and physical fitness. Start your own Walking Works program today.
Before you put your sneakers on, consult with your doctor, and click on the topics below to become familiar with important basic information.
Walking Basics: On your mark!
It’s important to know your starting point
[PDF] before you set your own personal goal. This knowledge will help you create a personalized walking program that is right for you.
Baseline. If you are using a pedometer, count your steps for seven days; if you don’t have a pedometer, follow the recommendations of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports – begin with 30 minutes of brisk walking at least five days each week. Keep a log to track the amount of daily walking you do. This will establish your baseline. Click here for information about ordering a discounted Walking Works Pedometer
Benchmark. Your benchmark is the highest number of steps you walked on any given day while establishing your baseline the first week. Use that number as your daily goal for the second and third weeks. Log your daily walks, and at the end of the third week, review your log. If you averaged your goal, add another 500 steps or several more minutes to your daily goal for the fourth and fifth weeks.
Build. At the end of each 2-week period, try to add 500 steps or several more minutes to your walking goal. If you had difficulty reaching your goal, walk at the same level until you build enough endurance to increase your target.
Continue to log your activity. This will prevent slipping back or dropping out. Click here [PDF] for a Walking Works Log and to take the Walking Works Pledge
Start the Walking Works Program: Get set!
Remember, before beginning any program to increase physical activity, talk with your doctor.
Choose comfortable, supportive shoes, such as running, walking, or cross training shoes, or light hiking boots.
If you are going to do stretching exercises, be sure your muscles are warmed up first. Walk briskly for 10 minutes before stretching.
Maintain a brisk pace. You should work hard to keep up your pace but still be able to talk while walking.
Practice correct posture – head upright, arms bent at the elbow and swinging as you stride.
Drink plenty of water before, during and after walking to cool working muscles and keep your body hydrated.
If you’re going for a long walk, include a cool-down period to reduce stress on your heart and muscles.
Remember to think creatively about ways you might add steps to your day, and make walking a habit.
Find everyday opportunities to walk more to meet your goal. Here are some suggestions:
Take the stairs instead of the elevators, or get off below your destination and walk up a few stairs.
Park your car a few blocks from your destination, or at the end of the parking lot.
Walk the last few blocks, instead of riding the bus all the way to work.
Park at the opposite end of the mall from where you need to shop.
Walk around the field at your children’s ball games.
Consider adding other routine walking to your day by organizing a lunchtime walking group at work, or a before- or after-work group with friends or neighbors.
Make family time active time. After dinner, get the whole family outside for a game of tag or walk around the block.
Click here to view additional information
on the benefits of walking and other health related issues.