Walking is the easiest, most common, low impact exercise that people engage in. However, there are many misconceptions about the usefulness of walking for weight loss and cardiorespiratory conditioning. These health benefits can be realized by walking, as long as the intensity is high enough to increase your heart rate to 60-75% of your max HR (Worksheet 5-1).

When you walk, keep your back straight and your stride comfortable. Do not use ankle or hand weights because they increase the stresses placed on your joints. If you have been sedentary, start by walking for 15 minutes on a flat surface at a pace that allows you to talk somewhat easily. Walk every other day. Each week increase the time you walk by 10% until you can walk for 20 minutes continuously. Next, increase your distance by 10% each week (staying at the 3.0 m.p.h. pace) until you can walk continuously for 2 miles. Then follow the program outlined in Table 6-1.

Table 6-1. Outline of a Walking Program

Weeks Frequency Miles Goal Time Comments times/week (min)/ pace

Adapted from OPNAVINST 6110.1D Jan. 1990. *m.p.h. = miles per hour; ** add hills for variety.

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