Walking Workout Plan: How To Organise One?
- May 24, 2019
- Luke Lee
Walking is a universal activity, most of us walk at least a little bit every day.
But a few walks with a walking workout plan.
With our modern, mainly sedentary lifestyles of office working, and lazy habits of taking a bus or cab to go down the road, walking has become a lot less common for very many people.
It is often underrated when it comes to viewing it as a form of exercise when that is far from the case.
The benefits of walking as a form of exercise range from increased cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness, to even stronger bones.
This guide is going to highlight the main benefits of walking, and how to incorporate it into your daily routine, as well going through ways to track your progression and log how much you’ve been walking.
Is walking good exercise?
Walking is a great exercise, that can be utilized by many people of a variety of ages.
It is a simple workout that anybody can do and is something you can incorporate into your daily life, for free!
The best thing about walking as an exercise is the fact that you can do it at your own pace.
Whether you prefer a brisk stroll through the park or a walk with your children, it isn’t very hard to incorporate it into your day to day life.
It’s an easy exercise to incorporate, but is it a good exercise to do? We’ll cover that in more detail as the article goes on.
Walking engages your muscles
It takes over 200 muscles, simultaneously working together, to take one single step. Yep, you read that right.
Of these muscles, the most engaged of the range are mainly:
- Quadriceps (located at the front of the thighs)
- Buttocks (the biggest muscle in the body)
- Hamstrings (muscles located at the back of your legs)
- Abdominals & core
As well as these main muscle groups, secondary muscle groups involve arm and shoulder muscles (mainly involved in maintaining posture), as well as pelvic muscle groups stabilizing the simultaneous movements, as well as balancing the muscle groups surrounding the pelvis.
Walking is a sure-fire way to ensure you’re engaging your whole body. Although not equally, walking is a gentle cardiovascular workout option to incorporate into your routine that works a range of muscular groups other than just the legs.
With all these muscle groups engaged from merely walking, it is a no-brainer you should be incorporating walking into your daily routine; Maybe instead of taking the car to the supermarket you can walk the 15 minutes instead, your body will thank you for it.
Can I lose weight by walking?
With all these muscles engaged from this simple movement exercise, it’s clear that it has other benefits, such as the ability to help an individual lose weight.
A recent study conducted by NCBI, measuring the effects of walking on the general health of 43 middle-aged women aged between 40-55 years, brought some conclusive results.
After a 12-week study following these women, results recorded an average 7% drop in body fat, compared to the control group, which only saw a 0.6% decrease over the same period.
The study also showed an average drop in weight from 58.5±8.6 kg to 57.2±7.3 kg, whereas the control group, gained an average of 0.2kg.
What can we draw from that?
Walking is scientifically proven to help people lose weight, and those who don’t walk as often are more likely to put on weight.
Benefits of walking daily
Walking daily has a wide array of benefits, many of which can’t be covered in one article, but we’ll go through a few now.
The main key benefits of walking daily include the following:
- Improved heart health
- Regulation of blood pressure
- Improved circulation
- Strengthened bones
- Improved muscle development
- Improved digestion
Now how can it help with all these things? – You may ask.
With the first three benefits (heart health, blood pressure regulation, and improved circulation), these benefits work hand in hand – With regular walking, you’re improving the blood flowing through the legs, in turn improving overall blood flow.
This reduces the work your heart must do, to pump blood around the body, in turn reducing blood pressure.
So, a walk in the park every morning or on your lunch break might not be such a bad idea and could be the bare minimal precaution you take to maintain heart health.
Strengthened bones occur with the low impact exercise of walking, preventing the loss of bone density, and potentially preventing osteoporosis.
Another NCBI study highlighted the benefits of post-dinner walks and it’s potential to reduce the risk factor of Gastric cancer in those over 55 years of age.
Benefits of walking daily range from muscle maintenance, bone development, heart health benefits and even reduced likelihood of cancer.
Best shoes for beginners wishing to start walking regularly
Ideally, if walking for an exercise, you should choose appropriate trainers that are comfortable for your feet, breathable, and don’t cause blisters.
Dress for the occasion, if you’re going to the gym get yourself a comfy pair of trainers, this also applies for going into work.
With the wide range of running shoes available, including those fitted to your feet, with gel soles and shoes that are practically socks, there are plenty of comfortable shoe options to choose from for those looking to get into a walking routine.
For those wishing to walk distances and challenge themselves, hiking shoes are comfortable and likely will be the best option for you.
3 Week Walking Workout Plan for Beginners
So, you’ve decided you want to start walking and are slowly figuring out how to incorporate it into your routine, now how do we go about doing so?
First, it depends on your goals. Is your goal to lose weight, simply to exercise, or are you looking to improve overall health?
Then, depending on ability, starting from the bottom would involve ensuring that you incorporate walking more into your day to day lifestyles.
This could be anything from walking on your lunch breaks or getting up earlier to take a walk in the park before heading off to work.
Rest assured, we’ve tailored a general treadmill walking workout plan for beginners, which you can see below:
Start with a 15-minute treadmill walking workout, details covered below:
|5 minutes||2 mph (warm-up)|
|2 minutes||3 mph (brisk walk)|
|3 minutes||2 mph (steady pace)|
|2 minutes||2.5 mph (steady to a brisk walk)|
|3 minutes||1 mph (cooldown)|
This will ease you into the process, 5 days a week, with 2 rest days in between. Start off going on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday consecutively, take Thursday off, followed by Friday and Saturday with Sunday off. This adds up to a comfortable 1 hour and 15 minutes in the first week.
|5 minutes||2 mph (warm-up)|
|3 minutes||3 mph (brisk walk)|
|4 minutes||3.5 mph (slight increased brisk walk)|
|2 minutes||2.5 mph (steady to a brisk walk)|
|3 minutes||2 mph (steadier pace)|
|3 minutes||1 mph (cooldown)|
Now that you’ve started walking more often, you want to start incorporating brisk walking more often. Brisk walks involve walking at a pace slightly faster than your normal walking speed, changing the intensity of the activity.
This time the 5 days going from Monday and Tuesday then resting on Wednesday, followed by Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a final rest day on Sunday. With 20 minutes of walking a day, this will amount to 1 hour and 40 minutes of walking a week, at a slightly higher intensity.
|5 minutes||1 mph (warm-up)|
|3 minutes||2 mph (average pace)|
|4 minutes||3.5 mph (increased brisk walk)|
|4 minutes||3 mph (steady to brisk walking pace)|
|3 minutes||2.5 mph (steadier pace)|
|4 minutes||2 mph (average pace)|
|7 minutes||1 mph (cooldown)|
In the third week, after conditioning our bodies for the first two, we want to push harder, increasing the length of time we walk for, as well as the pace and incline.
The workout is now more intense and totals to 30 minutes a day of walking.
This week would be different, with 2 consecutive days (Monday to Tuesday), followed by Wednesday as the rest day, with Thursday, Friday and Saturday, leaving out Sunday.
This totals to 1 hour and 50 minutes of walking a week, with only slight tweaks!
Remember, it takes 21 days (3 weeks) to make a habit, so the best results will come from incorporating this into your daily routine.
You can start off by going for a walk on a lazy Sunday!
Advanced Walking Workout Plan
As your ability to endure walking improves, so will your routine.
This part is for those who have initially started out in the gym, walking on the treadmill, and now wish to expand their abilities and want to progress into day trekking or similar activities.
Taken from the British Heart Foundation, they’ve developed a walking training schedule for those preparing for long-distance walking activities, we’ve broken it down for you.
|1||Basic cross training||3-mile brisk walk||Walk 70-minute intervals||60 minutes of cross training||rest||Walk 10 miles at a medium pace||Walk 6 miles fast pace|
|2||Basic cross training||3-mile brisk walk||Walk 70-minute intervals||60 minutes of cross training||rest||Walk 10 miles at a medium pace||Walk 10 miles medium pace|
|3||Basic cross training||3-mile brisk walk||Walk 70-minute intervals||70 minutes of cross training||rest||Walk 12 miles fartlek (jog walking intervals)||Walk 10 miles, slow to medium pace|
|4||Basic cross training||3-mile brisk walk||Walk 70-minute intervals||80 minutes of cross training||rest||Walk 10 miles slowly||Walk 8 miles fast|
|5||Basic cross training||3-mile brisk walk||Walk 5 miles at a medium pace||60 minutes of cross training||rest||Walk 15 miles fartlek (jog walking intervals)||Walk 6 miles at a medium pace|
This schedule is not recommended for beginners, as it is enhanced specifically for those who wish to do activities that require extensive walking, such as hiking, trekking or mountain climbing.
How to track your walks with logs and spreadsheets
Can be as easy as the table above, create some columns and entitle them with the days of the week, and number the rows so you know which week is which.
If you aren’t as tech-savvy, you could always just track progression in a notepad.
Ensure that you track the speed in which you walk (if walking on a treadmill) and gradually increase your walking speed and incline as you go along.
In time you want to eventually be walking at a brisk pace (average 3mph) and increasing the incline.
This will ensure you’re pushing your muscles over time and your general walking abilities.
The NHS recommends 10,000 steps a day, and this is do-able with a few minor lifestyle changes!
In terms of distance, with 10,000 daily steps, you’re looking at 5 miles a day of walking, with a gym routine in place and small lifestyle changes, this is light work.
So, what’s better, walking outside or on a walking treadmill?
Some people only ever walk if it’s at the gym on a treadmill, but a lot of nature enthusiasts may prefer a brisk nature walk over that any day;
let’s go through the pros and cons of each:
Pros and cons of treadmill walking workouts
Pros involve the difficulty level being the same, you’re able to adjust to whichever pace best suits you.
The cushioned belt of the treadmill reduces the impact of the force of walking on your joints.
Another main, more obvious proof the treadmill for walking is the fact that you can simulate whatever environment you require, i.e. hill-ey terrain.
Cons of walking of a treadmill are the limit to your agility. Walking in a straight line would not be as realistic as if you were walking in a park for instance.
Not as many muscles are worked and let’s face it: Walking on a treadmill is not as fun as a walk in the park, Nuff said.
Pros and cons of regular walking workouts
Pros of walking when out and about is mainly that it’s enjoyable, you can do it with people, catch some sun and fresh air doing it.
Another pro is that you can take your dog with you, and do it practically any time of the day, as well as incorporating it as an exercise to go with what you’re doing, like going to the shops.
With a step-counter, you can easily keep track of how many steps you’ve taken that day.
You can walk up hills, and push yourself, as well as speed up or slow down as you like. The main benefit being the freedom of where to walk.
The main con of walking workouts that don’t involve a treadmill is that you have no idea what pace you’re going at, then again, you can track how long you’ve walked for and set a distance from point A to B, so there are benefits and downfalls for both.
Walking in your local area
The most fool-proof way of incorporating walking into your routine is by starting out in your local area.
Walking to the local places you do to run your errands could be the first step to a healthier lifestyle – no pun intended.
Who doesn’t like a nice bit of fresh air or a walk in the park when it’s lovely and sunny, make sure you’re walking wherever you can, whenever possible.
Which treadmill should I consider buying to start out?
We recommend starting off with the WalkingPad A1, a treadmill that can be used under your desk and perfect for those with sedentary lifestyles that don’t get much chance to work out in their busy schedules.
This treadmill folds under the desk and tracks your progression, steps, calories burned and walking speed, with its unique design, it is truly a product worth considering if you’re looking into introducing walking to your routine.
In conclusion, we’ve summarised the benefits of walking daily, with a wide array of health benefits, how to introduce walking to your walking workout plan, and how to gradually evolve into more advanced walking routines for different purposes.
If you don’t walk enough, make sure you start making the necessary changes to ensure you are, walk that last bus stop, go for strolls on the weekend, walk in the park when it’s sunny – your body will thank you for it.