Walking Workouts with IntervalsTraining Programs for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Walkers
-- By Nicole Nichols, Fitness Instructor
This walking program uses intervals (short bursts of higher-intensity activity followed by lower intensity recovery periods), which can be a more effective way to train (and burn calories) than exercising at one intensity level. If you're new to walking or exercise, start with the Beginner program. As you progress, slowly increase your time and eventually move to the Intermediate and Advanced workouts. Because this is a general program, you may need to adjust the recommended speeds, intensities, and times to suit your fitness level. Be sure to refer to our Walking Guide for more information and resources for walkers.
Use the FIT (Frequency, Intensity and Time) Principles for a safe and effective workout!
- Frequency: Try the walking workout listed three to five times per week, depending on your fitness level. Beginners should do fewer days, while intermediate to advanced walkers can safely do more.
- Intensity: Walk at a brisk—not leisurely—pace. Don’t worry about what your pace really is, but do pay attention to your overall intensity, aiming for 5-7 on a scale of 1-10. You’ll find a full explanation of the 1-10 Intensity Scale (known as RPE) below the workouts.
- Time: Try to follow the suggested workout guidelines to the best of your ability, which means that you'll gradually increase your walk time as you progress from the beginner to the intermediate and advanced interval workouts.
Beginner Interval Walking Workout
Intermediate Interval Walking Workout
Advanced Interval Walking Workout
An Explanation of Using the RPE Method to Measure Intensity
Rate of Perceived Exertion (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 1 to 10, allowing you to rate how you feel physically and mentally at a given intensity level.
An RPE between 5 and 7 is recommended for most adults. This means that at the height of your workout, you should feel you are working "somewhat hard" to "hard."