It’s time to start moving! Walking is an excellent form of exercise, especially for beginners or people returning to fitness after a long time off. This introductory walking program will help you build enough endurance to safely and effectively increase the time that you walk over the course of 12 weeks. You can follow this heart-healthy walking program whether you walk on a treadmill, track or other outdoor venue.
Use the FIT (frequency, intensity and time) Principles for a safe and effective workout:
- Frequency: Try the walking workout listed three times each week, ideally with a day off between workouts to allow your body to recover. If a particular
week's workouts feeltoo tiring for you, repeat that week again before moving ahead to the next week’s workout.
- Intensity: Walk at a brisk—not leisurely—pace. Don’t worry about your actual speed, but do pay attention to your overall intensity, aiming for four to six on a scale of one to 10. You’ll find a full explanation of this intensity scale (known as RPE) below the workouts.
- Time: Try to follow the suggested guidelines to the best of your ability, which means that you'll walk two to three minutes more with each passing week.
Using the RPE to Measure Intensity
Rate of Perceived Exertion, or RPE may be the most versatile method to measure exercise intensity for all age groups. Using this method is simple, because all you have to do is estimate how hard you feel like you’re exerting yourself during exercise. RPE is a good measure of intensity because it is individualized—it’s based on your current fitness level and overall perception of exercise. The scale ranges from one to 10, allowing you to rate how you feel physically and mentally at a given intensity level.