Walking 30-Day Quick Start Guide and Beyond

Getting started walking for fitness and health

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Are you ready to start walking for fitness and health? A brisk walk for 30 to 60 minutes per day is recommended for health and weight management.

Before you start any exercise program, it is a good idea to check in with your doctor to make sure your fitness plan is appropriate for you. This is especially relevant if you have any medical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes.

Walking Equipment for Beginners

Walking is an exercise you can do with minimal equipment. Here are the basics you will need:

Walking Quick Start Day 1

This first day will consist of a short walk.

  • Start with a 15-minute walk at an easy pace.
  • Listen to your body. It is always smart to check with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a medical condition. Also, be aware of warning signs of heart attack or stroke vs. normal signs of exertion, such as deep breathing. Seek immediate medical help if you have chest pain accompanied by sweating, nausea, and/or breathlessness (heart attack symptoms) or one-sided weakness, dizziness, slurred speech, and/or a sudden headache (symptoms of stroke).
  • At the end of your walk, do a light stretching routine. While research hasn't shown it prevents muscle soreness or injury, stretching helps maintain flexibility.
  • Keep a record of your walking time each day, and make notes about how your shoes felt, how your body felt, and how easy or hard the 15-minute walk was for you.
  • During your first walking day and first walking week, you may have some muscle soreness. This is common for people who begin fitness walking.

Walking Quick Start Week 1

Aim to walk at least five days a week for 15 minutes at a time. If there are days when you can't get 15 minutes in, do what you can. Every minute counts.

  • Walk at an easy pace the first week, building up a baseline of walking activity before working on speed.
  • Pay attention to your walking posture and walking form.
  • Weekly goal: 60 to 75 minutes total.

Walking Quick Start Week 2

Add five minutes a day so you are walking 20 minutes, 5 days a week. Or you may wish to extend yourself more on some days, followed by a rest day.

  • Weekly goal: 75 to 100 minutes total.
  • Continue to work on your walking posture and form.
  • After five minutes at an easy pace, walk at a moderate pace where you may be breathing noticeably but are able to carry on a full conversation while walking and are not out of breath.
  • Building up your walking time and using good walking form is more important than pace, so if you need to take it easier to get in the full walking time, you can slow down.
  • Do a light warm-up stretching routine after five minutes of walking, or use it after your walk.
  • Add an abdominal core workout two to three times a week to strengthen your abdominal muscles, which will help you maintain good walking posture.
  • Assess your walking shoes. You may need to get new shoes that are better suited for fitness walking.

Walking Quick Start Week 3

Add five minutes a day so you are walking 25 minutes, five days a week.

  • Walk at a moderate pace, maintaining good walking form.
  • Weekly goal: 100 to 125 minutes total
  • Continue stretching and abdominal workouts.

Walking Quick Start Week 4

Add five minutes a day to walk 30 minutes, five days a week.

  • Walk at a moderate pace, maintaining good walking form.
  • Weekly goal: 125 to 150 minutes total
  • Continue stretching and abdominal workouts.


If you find any week to be difficult, repeat that week rather than adding more time until you are able to progress comfortably. Don't let bad weather or a busy schedule disrupt your fitness plan completely. If you can't do a full walk, any amount of walking will be beneficial. Make the most of a brief walk by concentrating on good posture and walking technique.

Beyond the Quick Start

Once you are able to walk 30 minutes at a time comfortably, you can continue your progress.

  • Weekly Walking Workout Schedule: Improve your aerobic conditioning, speed, and endurance with a variety of workouts. While the quick start workouts were simple, you can progress to using interval workouts and longer workouts.
  • How to Walk Faster: Once you are walking comfortably for 30 minutes per day, five days per week, you can begin to work on your walking speed. Using correct arm motion and learning to use your feet actively to roll through a step can help you pick up the pace.
  • Train for a 5K Walk: This popular distance for charity walks and the walks held with fun runs is 3.1 miles long. It will take most walkers 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Train for a 10K Walk: Many organized races have a 10K (6.2 mile) distance for runners, and this may be walker-friendly. It takes most walkers 90 minutes to two hours to walk this distance.
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By Wendy Bumgardner
Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer covering walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more than 1,000 walking events.