Getting Started With 5- to 10-Minute Walking a Day
You should always consult with your healthcare provider before introducing any changes to your diet or level of physical activity.
Take it one step at a time
When you start walking more, it is important to start slowly and work your way up. There is no risk in starting with less than you can tolerate, but starting with more can be painful and discouraging. If you use a step counter, tracking your activity is simple. If not, the next best thing is to count the minutes you walk each day.
You could start by adding 5 to 10 minutes more walking each day. If you are not used to walking, start with a few minutes each day. If you walk each day already, keep it up. Try adding 5 to 10 minutes more, increasing your daily walks by 5 to 10 minutes each week. Keep this up until you reach your ultimate goal that you’ve set with your healthcare provider. This may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that you can accumulate this time bit by bit. If you walk 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, it all adds up! Is 15 minutes at a time hard for you? You could try three 5-minute walks. When you can do this with ease, you may want to bump it up; add 5 minutes per day. It is recommended that adults walk 30 minutes to 1 hour each day—and it can be your long-term goal. Try to increase your walking gradually; do not make it hard for yourself.
Work it into your schedule
You know best when a walk will fit in your schedule. Here are a few suggestions you may want to follow:
- Get up 30 minutes early to walk
- Walk at lunch
- Walk on your breaks at work
- Walk after work
- Walk after dinner
- Walk before bedtime
- Walk during TV commercials and between programs
- Walk around during your child’s soccer game
Make it a habit
Try to do your best to walk every day. You can make it part of your routine, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower—this is how walking can become a part of your lifestyle. But, don’t despair if you miss a day now and then.
You can experiment with walking in different places. You can try it at different times, go with different people, walk your pet, or walk by yourself. A walking partner can help a great deal with social support. Try to find what you like best.