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Follow a Walking Plan

Do this beginner's 4-week walking program to help improve health and build strength.

Start slow -- up to 10 minutes a day 3-4 times a week -- and build up. Check with your doctor first. Track your progress -- how long and how far you walk.

Start Walking: Day 1

Welcome -- today is the first day of your new walking program. You should start slowly.

  • Walk at an easy pace for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Stretch your calves and hamstrings for 2 minutes.  
  • Walk at an easy pace for another 4 to 5 minutes.

Go easy on yourself if you're a new walker. You'll lose motivation -- or hurt yourself -- if you start out too fast or push too hard. Remember to rest if you feel tired. Relax tomorrow and just take an easy walk, if you feel like it.

Start Walking: Day 3

Keep moving! Repeat the same walking plan from your first day.

  • Walk at an easy pace for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Stretch your calves and hamstrings for 2 minutes.
  • Walk at an easy pace for another 4 to 5 minutes.

It may be tempting to do a lot more, but try to resist. Going slowly will reduce the risk of hurting yourself. Don't skip the stretching!  You can take another leisurely walk tomorrow if you feel like it.

Start Walking: Day 5

Today, try a 10-minute walk without stopping to stretch in the middle. Stick to a leisurely pace. Stop and rest if you get tired. To make things more interesting, walk downtown or in a mall so you can window shop.

Take the day off from walking tomorrow, if you like.

Start Walking: Day 7

Today, take a 10 to 12 minute walk. Stick to a leisurely pace.

While you walk, catch up on your personal calls -- chat with a friend or loved one. Multitasking can make the walk go by faster and distract you from any boredom -- and make those extra minutes a lot less noticeable.

Walk tomorrow again if you like, but try to get in one day each week to rest.

Keep Walking: Day 9

Congratulations! You're now on week 2 of your walking program. Today you'll try to increase your activity a little.

  • Walk at an easy pace for 5 minutes.
  • Stretch for 2 minutes.
  • Walk at a brisk pace for 5 minutes.

One fun way to keep track of your walking is to get a step counter. They're an inexpensive way of checking your progress at the end of a day. About 2,000 steps equal a mile.

Keep Walking: Day 11

Don't stop now. Today, aim to:

  • Walk at an easy pace for 5 minutes.
  • Stretch for 2 minutes.
  • Walk at a brisk pace for 5 minutes.

Try to avoid walking near busy roads. But if you must, remember these tips: If you walk in the evening, always wear clothing with reflective stripes so drivers can see you. And no matter what time you walk, remember to walk on the opposite side you'd drive -- facing traffic. 

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