Walking may not be the first physical activity to spring to mind when you contemplate starting an exercise program. However, numerous studies show that even taking a steady 30-minute walk a every day delivers some health benefits.
Of course, the faster you walk the better it is for your health. As a matter of fact, speed trumps distance. Researchers discovered that walking faster can add between 15 and 20 years to your life.
Since the pandemic, walking has become increasingly popular. Covid-19 was something of a wake-up call for a lot of people. The number of deaths due to co-morbidities highlighted the need to improve your immune system.
So if you’re thinking of starting a walking exercise program, brisk walking is a low-intensity workout that can help improve your fitness levels, and mental health and lose weight.
Get Started With Weight-Loss Walking
Fitness walking helps you to burn off those unwanted pounds – so if weight loss is a goal for your fitness program, brisk walking is a good option. Nordic walking is proven to be even better for weight loss.
You should expect to see the weight fall off in the first month, but you will notice that your energy levels increase within a few weeks of commencing a walking exercise program. This is a good sign as it means your metabolism is working more efficiently.
We recommend creating a fitness walking program that enables you to ease into it – particularly if you haven’t exercised in a while. Your progress will be determined by your age, existing weight and weight or your mobility.
But stick to the program for at least 2-3 weeks before you step it up. Listen to your body and make small increments to either walk faster or further. Alternatively, make your warm exercises more rigorous.
If you have been in poor health, we recommend speaking with your physician and asking for their advice. Also, check your physiological responses. Signs to look out for are increased heart rate, heavy breathing and sweating.
Brisk Walking Times and Distances
To help you get started with a walking fitness program, use the time and distance estimates below until you work out what is best for you.
Phase One: Weeks 1 to 3
Don’t over-exert yourself in the first three weeks. This is a test period to determine how your body responds to brisk walking. If you don’t feel faint or experience terrible aches and pains the following morning, gradually increase the distance you walk over the course of the first week.
For optimal effect, fitness experts recommend brisk walking four or five times a week. Exercise for two consecutive days then take a rest. The rest day is important to allow your body to recover.
The ideal pace for fitness walking is between 3 to 3.5mph – or about 2,250 steps every 20 minutes. But don’t maintain this pace. Experts say to seat at your normal pace for two or three minutes, then pick up the pace for 10 before dropping back to normal speed for two to three minutes and repeat.
Phase Two: Weeks 4-8
Heading into the fourth week, you should have a reasonable understanding of your limitations. Your body will also become more accustomed to brisk walking by now and you should be able to maintain the speed intensity for longer.
If you have the capacity to pick up the pace, even more, you could pick up the pace to 4.5mph and maintain that speed for 15-minutes before slowing down. This should help you burn around 85% of your calorie intake.
Phase 3: 8 weeks onwards
Around the 8-week mark, you should think about setting personal goals and increasing your workout routine. You may want to increase the exercise time to 45 minutes or an hour, or throw in some challenges such as hill walks or carrying a pack back (about 10-15kg).
Putting your body under more exertion helps you to build muscle mass – which is actually the key to losing weight. Alternatively, add high-intensity exercises to your routines such as leg squats, burpees, and side plank rotations.
Download the sweatcoin app
Sweatcoin wants to encourage more people to walk further and more often. That’s why we have designed a walking app that converts your steps into digital tokens you can spend to purchase goods with over 300 online retail stores.
It pays to walk.