Moving your body regularly, beginning with walking, is one of the best ways to enjoy a longer life and amp up your cardiorespiratory fitness.
“The great thing about walking is that it doesn’t require any special knowledge or equipment and can be done anywhere,” says Bethany Rutledge, a USAT-certified triathlon coach based in Atlanta. “This means it’s accessible to nearly everyone.”
Here, Rutledge outlines a 4-week walking plan for beginners, that along with a healthy diet, helps jumpstart weight loss. “This plan is for someone who currently considers themselves sedentary and wants to get started,” says Rutledge. It incorporates three rest days each week to enable beginners to get comfortable with movement and the different walking paces (outlined below).
If you’re looking for a greater challenge, “you can also increase the duration and vary the pace intensity even more,” adds Rutledge.
Throughout the plan, you’ll see a few different buzz words. We outline what those mean, here:
Steady-state walk: Walk briskly enough your breathing is elevated, but you can still talk easily.
High-intensity walk: Walk as quickly as you possibly can. At this pace your breathing should be very labored; talking is difficult.
Recovery walk: Walk at a comfortable pace, and focus on catching your breath. This low-intensity walk is also used for warmup and cooldown.
Endurance walk: This intensity level is between recovery and steady state. You should be able to converse easily.