The beginner’s guide to walking for people who aren't into working out

There aren’t many better ways for Canadians to improve their health than a brisk walk. Not just a casual stroll to the mailbox, we mean walking for a little longer and with a renewed purpose.

This eight-week walking program developed by ParticipACTION is a great introduction for anyone looking to increase his or her fitness. It’s simple and designed for both those new to physical activity or anyone trying to get back in the groove.

Where to start?

Most walking programs ask you to monitor your heart rates to ensure you’re working hard enough. Not us, we work with a simple rule of thumb: walk at a pace that leaves you breathing a little heavier than normal. Try to find a pace that allows you to maintain conversations while still keeping your breathing slightly heavier than when at rest.

Especially in the early going, the Beginner Walking Program promotes quick walks, the kind you can even tackle over your lunch hour. Grab a quick bite, power through a brisk 30-minute walk, and you’re back at your desk before the email landslide begins!

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Little Steps towards big goals

While you’re getting into the groove, look for ways to bake your walk into your day. Park a little further away, get off the bus one stop earlier than usual, or make the coffee shop a block over your choice for the day’s java break. Don’t let the walk loom over you like an undesirable chore – engineer your day so that you’re able to take your walks in stride.

The shoes have it

One of the great benefits of walking is the incredibly low cost. That said, it’s a good idea to pick up a pair of good quality shoes before you begin the program. Nothing too fancy or too specialized, just some comfortable footwear will make all the difference as you rack up the kilometers. Look for shoes that provide support while remaining lightweight with suitable traction to take on a rain-slicked pathway or modest incline.

Plus, pulling on your designated “walking shoes” sends a strong signal to your brain that it’s time to go!

Pull on those runners, lace up the walking shoes or even strap on the winter boots – the time to start is right now!

Happy walking!