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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Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.

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Member Comments

  • 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
  • I wish the format came in a printable version as I can't remember this! LoL - 1/23/2014 10:04:25 AM
  • I've been doing this kind of workout for over 30 years. Kind of anyway. I just mix different walking speeds and running. Instead of doing each thing for so many minuets I listen to my body. - 1/19/2014 9:55:45 AM
  • CINDIPERRON
    Isn't there somewhere to "save" this fitness article for future reference? - 1/17/2014 6:35:56 PM
  • Seems we all have the same question' How do I put this into my fitness tracker. - 1/17/2014 12:47:18 PM
  • GUNSAFETY
    TO RUTH,you shouldn't be "exhausted".That'
    s worse than no exercise.Walking for general weight loss is all about length of time walking,not a grueling short race.I think you'd be happier and better off walking at an enjoyable pace for an extra 10 or 15 minutes or walk twice a day for shorter times.Just don't quit,we're rooting for you. - 1/15/2014 6:13:51 PM
  • SERENE-BEAN
    Sorry to quibble, but "extremely hard" is harder than "very hard." - 1/14/2014 9:38:23 AM
  • I use my iPod to naturally create interval workouts. Since I walk to the beat, I create a playlist that varies in speed, allowing me to change up my effort, pace and stride song by song. These are some of the most enjoyable workouts I have... knowing that I'm working hard, but enjoying being out and moving... challenging myself without making it so difficult I become discouraged.
    LOVE walking! - 1/14/2014 8:46:16 AM
  • The best way to add might be to have a pedometer when you walk so that you can track time of walk and speed of walk and incorporate it into the tracker under walking and whatever speed you walked. - 10/22/2013 3:05:03 PM
  • The beginner walk kicked my butt. I was so tired when I finished. It was nice. I love that there is barely any soreness the next day. However, How do i imput this workout in the fitness tracker?

    - 9/27/2013 12:40:09 PM
  • ELLIE84626
    how many calories you think this would burn for a beginner? have never done this but might try, and yeah also no one seems to know how to put this on fitness tracker.... - 8/9/2013 7:12:37 AM
  • ONMYWEIGH60
    Sounds almost the same idea as Tabata which I love! will be incorporating this on my next power walk. - 12/22/2012 11:26:53 AM
Popular Calories Burned Searches: Intervals of run/walk or walk/jog: 6 mph or slower (> 10 minutes per mile)  |  Walking: 3.5 mph (17 minutes per mile)  |  Walking: 4 mph (15 minutes per mile)

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