Home & Community Walking for Pain Guide
Walking is a very important part of overall joint health, aerobic health and weight loss. Please use the following suggestions as your guide to developing your walking program, either outside or on a treadmill in your home or gym:
- Walk at a pace that is challenging but allows you to pass the “Talk Test”. The Talk Test is when you can walk and talk comfortably at the same time without feeling out-of-breath. If you can breathe through your nose while walking, then you are passing the talk test. If you cannot talk comfortably while walking, then slow down to a point where you can.
- Walk on stairs and hills, but always walk slowly enough to pass the Talk Test.
- Space your activities throughout the day. Rest before and after more strenuous activity such as bathing and showering.
- Always wait at least 1 to 1.5 hours after a meal before you do your exercise walk.
- Walking alone is fine. If you walk with another person, he/she should walk at your pace and comfort level.
How to start your Daily Walking Program:
- Ask yourself: “when walking, how long does it take before I start to feel discomfort?”. That’s your current maximum. If you don’t know, then pick a number you know won’t cause discomfort (eg 5 minutes).
- Once you have determined your maximum, then go for a walk, but stop one minute before you reach that maximum.
- Walk at a mildly challenging pace, but you should always be able to pass the Talk test.
- Increase your walks by 30 seconds per day.
- When you are able to walk for 30 minutes continuously, do your walk once per day instead of 2 times/day, unless you’d like to do more.
- Progress your 30 minute walk by increasing your speed that still passes the Talk Test. Progress your speed to a level which you are still able to maintain at least 4 days/week, or every other day.
- Always make sure you begin your 30 walk with an easy 5-minute “warm-up” stroll and end with a slow “cool-down stroll”. Avoid sudden sprints or stops.
- If you feel as though you are able to increase walking to 40 minutes or greater, please do so gradually as instructed above.
Situations to consider:
- During extreme weather, consider controlled environments such as a shopping mall for walking, or walk early in the morning or later afternoon on hot days.
- Do not hold your breath at any time. Try to breathe normally through any exertion during walking, climbing hills and stairs and exercise.
Your Hinge Health playlists are a great warm-up or cool-down prior to walking. If you need help in starting a walking program, reach out to your coach for support and accountability!