What if you could lose weight, get healthy and really, truly enjoy yourself, all with one simple activity that requires no equipment and can be done anywhere by almost anyone? It’s as simple as putting one foot in front of the other! Walking is a powerful exercise that can help you reach your goals, no matter how aggressive they might be. By challenging yourself to get your heart rate up into the cardio zone and working hard, walking serves as a great low-impact activity that will improve your fitness level and help you lose weight.|
Whether you're new to exercise or just getting back into a routine, walking is the perfect activity to get you started. Walking has numerous health benefits and helps create a solid fitness base so that eventually you’re ready to tackle bigger goals, whether that’s the bootcamp class at your gym or the 5K race you’ve always wanted to run.
For the rookie exerciser, two months is the perfect amount of time to create a regular routine and start seeing results from your hard work. By following a consistent schedule like the one outlined below, regular exercise becomes a normal part of your day, just like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. When your body learns to expect the daily activity, you’re less likely to fall off the exercise wagon.
Keep in mind that it takes a healthy diet, along with regular exercise, to reach your weight-loss goals. Track your food daily in your SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker throughout the course of the next two months to be sure you're staying within your recommended calorie and nutrient ranges. Add two to three sessions of full-body strength training to your weekly walking routine to help minimize the amount of muscle lost as you lose fat. Also, remember that the closer you are to your goal weight, the slower the weight is going to come off. If you only have 20 pounds to lose, it's likely to take more than two months to reach your goal. This isn't meant to discourage you, but rather, to point out that weight loss can be a slow process and it's important to keep your goals realistic based on your personal situation. However, when you lose weight in a healthy way, the changes you've made become a permanent part of your life and the weight will stay off for good!
This is an eight-week program, designed to slowly increase in intensity and duration. You will do the same workouts for two weeks, then move on. If you aren't ready to move on, it's fine to stay in one week a little longer. If Saturday isn't a good rest day for your schedule, pick a different day of the week. The program can be flexible based on your needs.
Each workout should include a five-minute warm up and cool down, neither of which is included in the charts below. Make sure you are wearing supportive walking shoes that fit properly to avoid discomfort or injury. Before getting started, familiarize yourself with Rate of Perceived Exertion, or RPE, a simple method for determining exercise intensity that you'll use throughout each exercise session.
When you're ready to walk it out, bring with you a sunny attitude, determination and a lot of excitement. Grab a friend, spouse or furry pup to join you on your walks for an added dose of fun.
Weeks 1 and 2
Weeks 3 and 4
Weeks 5 and 6
Weeks 7 and 8
Looking for more walking resources? Check out SparkPeople's Walking Guide for additional information and workouts!