Start a Daily Walking Program

Walking can be an important contributor to overall joint health, aerobic fitness, and weight loss. But sometimes pain can be a barrier. Whether you plan to walk outside or on a treadmill in your home or gym, you can use the following suggestions as your guide to develop a daily walking program.

Guidelines for Walking

  • Walk at a pace that is challenging but allows you to pass the talk test:

    • You should be able to walk and talk comfortably at the same time while breathing through your nose.

    • If you cannot talk comfortably while walking without feeling out-of-breath, slow down to a point where you can.

    • Take stairs and hills 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.

  • If you walk with another person, be sure you walk at your pace and comfort level.

How to Start Your Daily Walking Program

  • Ask yourself how long it takes to feel discomfort when walking. That is your current maximum. If you don’t know, pick a duration you know won’t cause discomfort, for example 5 minutes.

  • Go for a walk, but stop 1 minute before you reach your maximum.

  • Walk at a mildly challenging pace that allows you to pass the talk test (talking comfortably while walking without feeling out-of-breath).

  • Increase your walks by 30 seconds per day. It’s okay to break up your walk into several sessions per day until you can walk continuously for 30 minutes.

  • When you are able to walk continuously for 30 minutes, walk once per day (or more, if you’d like).

  • Progress your 30 minute walk by increasing your speed (still passing the talk test). Progress your speed to a level you can maintain at least 4 days a week, or every other day.

  • Always make sure you begin your 30 minute walk with an easy 5 minute warm-up stroll and end with a slow, cool-down stroll. Avoid sudden sprints or stops. Your Hinge Health exercises are a great warm-up or cool-down activity before or after walking.

  • If you feel you are able to increase walking to 40 minutes or longer, do so gradually as instructed above.

Special Considerations

  • 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.

If you need help starting a walking program, reach out to your coach for support and accountability!

Key Takeaways

  1. Walking is a great way to improve your overall joint health and aerobic fitness, and can help you lose weight.

  2. You can use the talk test to find a beginning walking pace that’s right for you.

  3. Start your walking program gradually with a duration that lets you walk without feeling discomfort and progressing slowly to 30 minutes a day or more.