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:

  1. 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).
  2. Once you have determined your maximum, then go for a walk, but stop one minute before you reach that maximum.
  3. Walk at a mildly challenging pace, but you should always be able to pass the Talk test.
  4. Increase your walks by 30 seconds per day.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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!