A step in the right direction
How Do I Start a Walking Program?
Leave time in your busy schedule to follow a walking program that will work for you.
Keep the following points in mind as you plan your program:
- Choose a safe place to walk. Find a partner or group of people to walk with you. Your walking partner(s) should be able to walk with you on the same schedule and at the same speed.
- Wear shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel, and thick flexible soles that will cushion your feet and absorb shock. Before you buy a new pair, be sure to walk in them in the store.
- Wear clothes that will keep you dry and comfortable. Look for synthetic fabrics that absorb sweat and remove it from your skin.
- For extra warmth in winter, wear a knit cap. To stay cool in summer, wear a baseball cap or visor.
- Think of your walk in three parts. Warm up by walking slowly for 5 minutes. Then, increase your speed and do a fast walk. Finally, cool down by walking slowly again for 5 minutes.
- Do light stretching after your warm-up and cool-down.
- Try to walk at least three times per week. Each week, add 2 or 3 minutes to your walk. If you walk less than three times per week, you may need more time to adjust before you increase the pace or frequency of your walk.
- To avoid stiff or sore muscles and joints, start gradually. Over several weeks, begin walking faster, going further, and walking for longer periods of time.
- Set goals and rewards. Examples of goals are participating in a fun walk or walking continuously for 30 minutes.
- Keep track of your progress with a walking journal or log.
- The more you walk, the better you may feel and the more calories you may burn.
Experts recommend 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. If you cannot do 30 minutes at a time, try walking for shorter amounts and gradually working up to it.
For More Information
Weight-control Information Network
1 Win Way
Bethesda, MD 20892-3665
Phone: (202) 828–1025
Toll-free number: 877–946–4627
FAX: (202) 828–1028
The Weight-control Information Network (WIN) is service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health, which is the Federal Government’s lead agency responsible for biomedical research on nutrition and obesity.
Publications produced by WIN are reviewed by both NIDDK scientists and outside experts.
This publication is not copyrighted. WIN encourages users of this brochure to duplicate and distribute as any copies as desired.