A New Beginning – Let’s Walk!

Before you start walking, take the time to assess your health. Consult your doctor before you hit the trail or treadmill, especially if you’ve been inactive in recent years. Too many Americans have a tendency to take their health for granted and allow too much time to elapse between physical examinations.

Your age, in itself, shouldn’t keep you from exercising. Many of the physiological changes that are assumed to be an inevitable part of aging can actually be linked to inactivity. Regular exercise like walking can actually help you look and feel younger. However, even the most active older people cannot avoid all the changes that occur over time.

Below you will find a good starter program.  Stay at each level for one week then proceed to the next level. Once you have reached level 6 and you are ready to increase the level of difficulty, add five minutes to the previous level until you work up to 60 minutes.

  • Level 1: Walk 20 minutes a day 3 to 5 times a week.
  • Level 2: Walk 25 minutes a day 3 to 5 times a week.
  • Level 3: Walk 30 minutes a day 3 to 5 times a week.
  • Level 4: Walk 35 minutes a day 3 to 5 times a week.
  • Level 5: Walk 40 minutes a day 3 to 5 times a week.
  • Level 6: Walk 45 minutes a day 3 to 5 times a week.
Keep in mind the longer you walk the more calories you burn.  If you find yourself missing the slower pace and the chance it gave you to savor your surroundings, you may want to alternate brisk walks with more leisurely ones. You might try confining brisk walking to 30 minutes or so in the middle of your workout, sandwiched between long, slow warm-up and cool-down periods. You may also want to walk up and down hilly terrain, so that you can increase the intensity of your workout without having to walk at high speeds. As time goes on, if you find it’s difficult to motivate yourself, find a buddy to join you.  The commitment to be accountable will help you stay on track.

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