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How Do I Start a Walking Program?

It is important to design a program that will work for you.   In planning your walking program, keep the following points in mind:

  • Choose a safe place to walk. Find a partner or group of people to walk with you. Your walking partner(s) should be able to walk with you on the same schedule and at the same speed.

  • Wear shoes with thick flexible soles that will cushion your feet and absorb shock.

  • Wear clothes that are right for the season. Cotton clothes for the summer help to keep you cool by absorbing sweat and allowing it to evaporate. Layer your clothing in the winter, and as you warm up, you can take off some layers.

  • Stretch before you walk.

  • Think of your walk in three parts. Walk slowly for 5 minutes. Increase your speed for the next 5 minutes. Finally, to cool down, walk slowly again for 5 minutes.

  • Try to walk at least three times per week. Add 2 to 3 minutes per week to the fast walk. If you walk less than three times per week, increase the fast walk more slowly.

  • To avoid stiff or sore muscles or joints, start gradually. Over several weeks, begin walking faster, going further, and walking for longer periods of time.

  • The more you walk, the better you will feel. You also use more calories.

Safety Tips

  • Keep safety in mind when you plan your route and the time of your walk.

  • Walk in the daytime or at night in well-lighted areas.

  • Walk in a group at all times.

  • Notify your local police station of your group's walking time and route.

  • Do not wear jewelry.

  • Do not wear headphones.

  • Be aware of your surroundings.

How Do I Warm Up?




The Weight-control Information Network (WIN) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. WIN provides information on weight control, obesity, and nutritional disorders. WIN responds to requests for information; develops, reviews, and distributes publications; and develops communications strategies to encourage individuals to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
last updated: 10 February 1998




last update: February 2009



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