Fitness Articles

Walking Workouts with Intervals

Training Programs for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Walkers

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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.

Getting Started
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.
And remember, always warm up and cool down. Warming up at a slow pace will help prepare your joints, muscles and heart for exercise. Cooling down will prepare your body to return to a resting state, help prevent muscle soreness, and prevent illness and injury.

Beginner Interval Walking Workout

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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • DANDYLINES
    Decent program, would be nice if SparkPeople allowed an intensity level on their fitness section. I do a lot of water aerobics, but honestly my intensity varies. Would be nice to note this and up or lower calorie input. - 5/10/2015 1:29:54 PM
  • If someone has high blood pressure or some other health concerns, pushing to 7 isn't the best idea.
    http://www.spar
    kpeople.com/r
    esource/fitne
    ss_articles.a
    sp?id=701&page=2 - 4/27/2015 12:49:13 AM
  • This is a great exercise. It is simple to adjust the level of intensity l to any stage you are at in your exercise plan, Just listen to your body it will tell you. But remember pushing ourselves a little is the reward and how we loose those unwanted pounds. - 3/13/2015 11:42:30 PM
  • I CAN DO IT! - 3/10/2015 8:19:04 PM
  • The amount of time periods of fast and slow walking should take is not set in stone as some might suggest. It varies from one person to another, one day to another, and one terrain to another. Instead of memorizing some table and looking at your watch while you're walking, walk fast until you get tired and then walk slow until you're rested enough to walk fast again. I'd suggest mixing in some running too. And mix it up from one day to the next. Variety is good. - 3/10/2015 11:44:38 AM
  • YANKEEHEN
    This seems way too complicated to keep track of out of doors. How would you keep track of the time-look at your watch all the time? You would be tripping in potholes. How about a revised program using telephone poles as an indication of when to change pace? - 3/10/2015 11:26:27 AM
  • I've added walking backwards and doing side steps. It definitely ups the burn. - 3/10/2015 6:12:34 AM
  • CHERRY-TREE
    Way too complicated. And indeed, 'very hard' is less hard than 'extremely hard'... - 3/10/2015 5:58:50 AM
  • HELOVESME4
    Just remember you are repeating the four groups (other than warm up/cool down). Brisk/moderate/fa
    st/slow... the minutes are for 1/2/1/2 . Just keep repeating these groups 4 times. - 3/10/2015 5:06:07 AM
  • Many questions about entering into the fitness tracker.
    I just take the average time it takes me to do 1 mile and choose that as my "speed"
    Then I manually enter the number of minutes at that speed into the fitness tracker.

    It's not exact, but neither is our perceived exertion level. It's good enough.
    I believe in intervals, whether walking, running or even swimming. - 2/22/2015 8:37:35 AM
  • My walking consists of mostly indoor walking. On days I walk at work, I listen to music with fast beats. - 2/19/2015 9:46:45 AM
  • Oh, it was intensity, not speed on a treadmill. My bad! Never mind my post! Sorry! - 4/24/2014 8:58:28 AM
  • Can anyone walk at speed five? I can't! I find myself having to do a jog at 4.3 only! If you can walk at speed seven, wow! More power to ya! - 4/24/2014 8:55:52 AM
  • MOIMAGGIE
    @Healthy4Him I love your idea of walking to differing beats of music. I use my ipod as a pedometer and walk with music, but have never thought of varying the tempo. Thanks so much...this will definitely make a positive difference. - 4/23/2014 12:23:17 PM
  • There are way TOO many steps/variations to remember. And there is obviously a typo or some mistake in the Intermediate list. The Cool Down 5 minutes - the exertion rate is at 6.5. 6.5 is NOT a cool down rate. - 2/13/2014 10:31:42 AM

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