Let's WALK ON! Easy 12-Week Walking Program

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Today's QuickFire Challenge is Power Walking and this is the first time I've read the link regarding an easy 12-week walking program from Better Homes and Garden and I am going to try it!

This past week, my Aunt and a good friend have passed away and I was an emotional wreck, mentally. I didn't want to work, so I took the day off and in their honor, I decided to go for a walk-a-bout. I hardly eat when I am depressed or stressed (just do protein shakes and lots of soups!), but I felt like I have to 'do' something. I was SO focused in my walking, I didn't realize the time as I kept moving forward to clear my head. When I looked at my pedometer, I realized I had walked over 4 miles, non-stop. I had my harnessed water bottle 'sling' over my shoulder and drank every 15 minutes or so, never faltering my steps. Now, if I can do this, I know I can do the 5K. I just need a program to get me started in the right direction with the right frame of mind.

So, let's get started, shall we?


Walking is free, it's easy, and it makes a real difference, even if you don't always reach the U.S. Surgeon General's recommendation of 30 minutes on most days. By starting a walking routine, you'll live longer, gaining two hours of life expectancy for every hour of vigorous exercise according to the American Heart Association, and you could burn 125 calories per half hour (depending on your pace).

Here's some tips on creating a walking program that will improve your overall health.

WEEKS 1 and 2

Focus on savoring the outdoors, no matter the season, and you'll be a natural walker. If you choose to stride inside, listen to music while strolling in a mall or walking on a treadmill. On a scale of 1 to 10, in which 1 is napping on the couch and 10 is gasping for air, aim to walk at a pace of about 5. You should be able to talk, but with slight breathlessness. In the first week, walk in 10-minute bouts three to four times a week. Add another two minutes per walk in the second week.

WEEKS 3 and 4

Try to walk from 20 to 30 minutes at a time, picking up the pace, and add an extra day's walk by the month's end. Focus on form during these two weeks. Stand up straight, with shoulders back and tummy tight to protect your back. Keep your chin parallel to the ground. Raise your intensity -- and pulse -- by making pistons of your arms. Bend your elbows at an 85-degree angle and move them from mid-chest level to your hips and back.

WEEKS 5 and 6

Keep it interesting by changing routes and music. And add intervals to one or two walks a week: Start by walking 5 minutes at a steady pace. Then walk as fast as you can for 90 seconds. Recover for the next 90 seconds by walking at a leisurely pace. If you're outside and without a watch, speed up from one light pole to the next. Repeat another four times, and cool down with a 5-minute stroll. In the coming weeks, expand high-intensity portions or cut relaxed ones by 15 seconds when you're ready to take it up a notch.

WEEKS 7 and 8

Exercise itself is a reward. But adding in little treats, such as an occasional massage, will make your program more fun and help you stay motivated. Looking for a more creative reward? Sign up for the American Diabetes Association's Club Ped (diabetes.org/ClubPed/index.js
p). As you reach a goal, the club rewards you by revealing a new chapter to a mystery, romance, or adventure novel. You also can choose a virtual dog. You can pick the dog's personality, and the more you walk, the happier your pooch gets.

WEEKS 9 through 12

Mix things up. Check with your local Humane Society to see if they have weekly dog walkings in which you take out a pound pup for a much-needed walk along a trail. Or, if you're ready for the commitment, think about adopting one to make every walk more of an adventure. Also, continue to boost the briskness and length of your walks by a few minutes per session. Don't be surprised if something interesting happens at the three-month mark. That's when exercise becomes a habit for most and you begin to crave the feeling that comes with it. Set new, more ambitious goals, such as entering an upcoming charity 5K.


Stretching a little goes a long way toward pain-free walking. After your walks, do these moves to target the muscles you've worked. Gently hold each stretch 10-20 seconds, and repeat on the other side. Remember not to bounce.

~ HAMSTRINGS: To loosen the back of your thigh, stand straight on one leg and place the other foot on a low bench or ledge. Lean your body slowly forward at the hip. Keep your back straight as you do this.

~ QUADRICEPS: Try the Flamingo to stretch the front of your thigh. Place one hand on the wall and, while standing on one leg, bend the other knee, and hold your ankle or foot behind your rear. Keep your torso upright and knees together.

~ CALVES: Stand facing a wall with palms against it. Stretch one leg behind you. Keep both feet flat on the floor. Bend your other knee slightly forward, but not beyond your toe. Keep toes pointed forward, hips parallel to the wall and back straight.

So, I shall try this program and see how I progress. I really, really want to do a 5K..."just because" ~ just to say that I entered a race...it WILL happen and I hope you are here to hear me say...
emoticon "I DID IT!"
emoticon WALK ON ~ Jazzy!!
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    FANTASTIC JOB JAZZY!!! so proud of you!!!
    3544 days ago
    Sounds like a great program! I am glad that you were able to get out and walk. I love getting out and walking or riding my bike to clear my head.
    3544 days ago
    Hey Jazzy I am the same way I want to be able to say I DID it. My goal is to do the disneyland 5K next fall. That gives me a whole year to recuperate and then train.!
    So Thanks for the blog. I wish I could save it some place so I can refer back to it when I am out of all my casts and at the end of recovery!
    And if you are game to come to California next fall I would be willing to do that 5K with you!!! Becuase I know WE will do it!!!

    3544 days ago
    Great post, Jazzy. I'm glad you were able to turn your sorrow into something positive.
    3544 days ago
    I am glad you were able to do something positive for your stress!
    3544 days ago
    Sorry to hear about your horrible week :( I am glad you are able to pick yourself up and fuel a positive change with it though. Blessings!
    3544 days ago
    Jazzy, I'm so sorry for your loss. :(

    But go you for turning it into something positive. :)

    Walk on, Jazzy!!! :)
    3544 days ago
    Great plan, Jazzy! I'll look forward to following your progress!! :-)
    3545 days ago
    Thanks for taking time to help others during the challenges in your life
    3545 days ago
    it is a good walking program to get you moving and loosing. Let us know when your going to do the 5K.
    3545 days ago
    This is much like the walking program that I did... it's how I lost most of my weight. I love walking now!
    3545 days ago
    What a great plan! I know you can do it - and Rocky does too!
    3545 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/7/2009 6:02:22 PM
    I love that this: "Check with your local Humane Society to see if they have weekly dog walkings in which you take out a pound pup for a much-needed walk along a trail." is suggested...what a great idea. I have my own dog to walk and don't live close enough to help at P.A.W.S. but I think the suggestion is excellent.

    GOOD blog post! Wishing you success as you work towards your 5K. My daughter recently did her first 5K AND then a half marathon!!! I am so impressed!
    3545 days ago
    I usually don't look at the links either. I'm going to check it out
    3545 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.