Friday, July 18, 2008

Walking Workouts for every Body

walking workouts

Ready to get in shape, but not sure where to begin? Start walking. You can do it anywhere, it doesn't require fancy equipment, and the results are amazing. Just ask Anita Keegan: In a little over a year, the 56-year-old went from feeling winded walking from her bed to the fridge to completing a marathon and losing 140 pounds! Anita isn't alone; walking is the exercise of choice for more than 2,300 members of the National Weight Control Registry database who've successfully lost an average of 66 pounds and kept the weight off for more than 5 years. Whether you've never walked for exercise or are trying to get back into a routine, our three tailored plans will put you on the path to a slimmer, healthier you in just 2 weeks.

The Expert: Lee Scott, a Toronto-based walking coach and creator of the DVD Simple Secrets for a Great Walking Workout, designed these routines.

1. Walk Off Weight
  Best if: You're more than 30 pounds overweight


Mini sessions build up gradually, burning more calories as you progress while keeping joints pain free. Extra weight puts more impact on your hips and knees, but every pound you drop takes 4 pounds of pressure off joints!

Ensure Success

Divvy it up Research shows that short workouts can add up to the same weight loss and health benefits as one long session, but they feel more manageable, helping you stick with your routine.

Choose softer surfaces In low-traffic areas, opt for the road rather than the sidewalk. Concrete is 10 times harder than asphalt, delivering the most shock to your legs. A smooth dirt trail is your best bet; treadmills and rubber tracks are also forgiving.

Use good form Squeeze your butt with every step to reduce bouncing and jarring. And don't focus on speed yet--keep a comfortable pace throughout these workouts.

Workout at a Glance
Workout at a Glance
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Walk for 10 minutes, twice a day, 5 times a week Walk for 10 minutes, twice a day, 5 times a week Keep on building Increase the duration of your walks to 20 minutes, twice daily, 5 times a week.
Go a little faster After 3 minutes of easy walking, pick it up to a brisk pace (like you're late for an appointment) for as long as possible.
Inch up your endurance Once a week, do one longer walk, adding 5 minutes each time, until you reach 60 to 90 minutes.

2. Maximize Your Metabolism

Best if: You notice weight creeping up with age

Walking combined with toning fuels calorie burn and fortifies bones. After 30, women lose about 5 pounds of muscle a decade, causing them to burn about 70 fewer calories a day--enough to add 7 pounds of fat a year.

Ensure Success

Don't baby yourself Research shows midlife exercisers are no more injury prone than college-age women--in fact, they may naturally progress more quickly. Maintain a moderate to brisk pace for these workouts.

Workout at a Glance
Workout at a glance
Week 1 Week 2
Monday Walk for 5 minutes. Do Upper Body exercises. Walk for 5 more minutes. Monday Walk for 10 minutes. Do Upper and Lower Body exercises. Walk for 10 more minutes.
Tuesday 10 minute walk Tuesday 20 minute walk
Wednesday Walk for 5 minutes. Do Lower Body exercises. Walk for 5 more minutes. Wednesday Walk for 10 minutes. Do Upper and Lower Body exercises. Walk for 10 more minutes.
Thursday 15 minute walk Thursday 25 minute walk
Friday Walk for 7 minutes. DoUpper and Lower Body exercises. Walk for 8 more minutes. Friday Walk for 10 minutes. Do Upper and Lower Body exercises. Walk for 10 more minutes.
Saturday 20 minute walk Saturday 30 minute walk
Sunday Rest Sunday Rest
Week 3 and beyond
Increase your intervals Extend the power portion of your Interval Routine by 30 seconds each week until you hit 2 minutes. Then return to 30 seconds and ramp it up to a level in which you don't want to talk.
Add another intensity day Do the Interval Routine 3 nonconsecutive times a week instead of twice (you can cut the Basic Workout to 3 days if needed).
Incorporate toning Do the Upper and Lower Body moves from the Maximize Your Metabolism Workout 2 or 3 times a week on non-Interval days, allowing at least 24 hours between sessions.

  Main Move [Upper Body]
Bench Dips


Sit on low wall or back of bench, hands next to hips. Slide butt just off wall, knees over ankles. Bend elbows back to 90degrees, lowering butt toward ground. Hold for 1 count; straighten arms, lifting back to start. Do 10to 12 reps.

Make it harder Extend right leg to do one-legged dips. Switch legs halfway through.


  Main Move [Lower Body]
Side Lunge


Stand with feet together, hands on hips. Step left leg 2 to 3 feet out to side, bend left knee and lower, keeping left knee over ankle and right leg straight. Stand back up, tap left foot in starting position, then lunge again. Do 10 to 12 reps with each leg.

Make it harder Don't tap foot as you stand. Instead balance on opposite leg between lunges.

  Main Move [Upper Body]
Standing Press


Place hands at chest level against a tree or wall; walk feet back until arms are fully extended. Bend elbows and bring chest toward tree, keeping body in line from head to heels. Straighten arms, returning to start. Do 8 to 12 reps.

Make it harder After bending elbows, hold for 10 seconds before pressing back to start.


  Main Move [Lower Body]
Single Leg Squat


Stand with weight on Right foot, left toes lightly resting on ground. (Hold on to a wall or back of a bench for balance if needed.) Bend right knee and hips to sit back, as though lowering halfway into a chair. Pause; straighten to stand. Do 10 to 12 reps with each leg.

Make it harder Sit lower--up to 90 degrees, and raise left foot off ground.


  Main Move [Lower Body]


Just like when you were a kid. Do it for 15 to 30 seconds. If you are indoors or have limited space, skip or jump in place; if your joints are especially sensitive, simply lift up onto toes without leaving the ground.

Make it harder Do 2 or 3 skipping intervals, leaping as high as you can (don't do this on a treadmill).

3. Shape up fast
  Best if: You used to be active but have been off the wagon for several months


The workout: Speed bursts boost fitness and slim you down quickly. An active past means you can build intensity quicker than a novice, and intervals (short bouts of fast walking) are the easiest way to do that.

Ensure Success

Ease in and out Begin each workout with 3 to 5 minutes at an easy stroll to prep your muscles and reduce your risk of injury.

Slow it down for the last 3 minutes.

Take smaller steps You'll move faster than if you take longer strides.

Bend your arms You'll pump them faster, helping you to cover more ground and burn up to 15% more calories.

(30 minutes)
10 min Moderate walk (4-5)*
10 min Brisk walk (6-7)*
10 min Moderate walk


(25 minutes)
10 min Moderate walk
4 sets alternating 30 sec Power walk (7-8)* with 2 min Brisk walk
5 min Moderate walk

(35 minutes)
10 min Moderate walk
15 min Brisk walk
10 min Moderate walk

(30 minutes)
10 min Moderate walk
5 sets alternating 60 sec Power walk with 2 min Brisk walk
5 min Moderate walk

*On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is strolling and 10 is sprinting as fast as you can.

Loosen up!
For a feel-good finish, stretch after you walk. Go to for safe and effective stretching moves.



  1. I really need to get my game on and start walking!  Too bad we don't live close to one another, we could go walk together!

  2. I like this entry... thanks