Short and Easy Workouts in Fitness Walking

Short and easy  workouts are just what  you think: short and easy.  They are the least demanding in both intensity and length. These workouts are intended to be easily accomplished and not overly strenuous. Although short and easy, you should be able to walk a mile without taking  a break in about 20 to 25 minutes before you attempt one. If that’s a bit of a stretch for you, take a look at the first two  workouts; these introductory workouts will let you  get used to working out before moving forward. If you can already walk that distance at that pace, you can skip the  first two samples and  choose your  favorites and  best-suited workouts from the  other 10.

Short and  easy  workouts have  several uses:

  • During the first few weeks, those new to exercise and walking may design their programs entirely from these workouts.
  • Health walkers beyond the true novice stage can  create a program that consists mostly of these workouts. Beginners may, however, choose work- outs from another category once or twice  a week.
  • Fitness and athletic walkers (intermediate and advanced walkers) can use these as easy days before or after  longer or more intense workouts or as a way to stay  in shape while traveling.
  • Anyone recovering from injury or trying to restart an exercise program, walking or otherwise, can use these programs to meet their needs.
  • Since these workouts are easy to fit into a break or lunch hour, someone trying to add small bouts of activity throughout the day may find these fit their needs nicely. Low intensity might  mean less sweat and getting back to work easier from a quick  jaunt.

Short and Easy Workouts in Fitness WalkingThroughout this  section, the  distance covered increases gradually, usually by only a quarter mile per workout, and focuses on ¾ of a mile to 2 miles. Your rate of perceived exertion (RPE),  remains low, 2 to 3 on the  RPE scale of 0 to 10, once you  get  past the  first  two  introductory  workouts. That’s equivalent to 60 to 69 percent of your  maximum heart rate (max HR). These workouts will last about 20 to 35 minutes, not including warm-up and cool-down. (If you are slipping one of these into a lunch hour or other break, you can just  use  the  first few minutes as a warm-up and  the  last few as your  cool-down.)

To be clear, let’s define an easy walk: This is a strolling but steady pace—one that will allow you to smell the flowers without pressure to achieve a particular time  or constantly check your  watch. In the  first  workouts, be flexible.  Stop to take  a breather if you  need to. Be gentle on yourself, allowing  your  body to  get  used to  the  simple walking  motion. Think  “easy  does it.” During  the next  10 workouts, you’ll also  think  easy  but  steady, without breaks and  at a continuous pace. Find the speed you can maintain within the given range and stride off the  distance. The  only  challenge is holding a steady pace. Speed is not  a concern, although if you  can’t  maintain 20- to  25-minute miles  (2.4 to 3 mph), you  should consider sticking with  the  preliminary two  workouts before moving on.

You will not necessarily expend many calories in these workouts, but you will prime your body  for longer and more intense workouts (if you want), and they will use more energy. You’ll also prime your mind for longer and brisker walks. Either way, you will begin  to gain health benefits from your  first step forward. As the U.S. government stated in the mid-1990s and has reiterated: Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as a steady walk, can reap immediate health rewards. So remember that all calorie estimates are just  that—estimates.

Table 6.1    Preview: Short and Easy Workouts

Short and Easy Workouts

Workout 1

Total time: 30 to 3  minutes

Warm-up: roll your shoulders and march in place, or walk around an open space easily for 3 to   minutes, then stretch if desired.

Workout

Distance ¾ mile

Walking time 19 to 23 minutes

Pace 25- to 30-minute miles

Heart zone 55 to 65% max HR

Effort RPE 1 to 2

Cool-down: Walk around an open area or march in place, rolling your shoulders and shaking out your hands and arms, for 3 to  5  minutes, then stretch.

Calories used:  53

Comments: the time allotted for this workout allows only a couple of short rest stops. Make sure you can accomplish this without becoming overly breathless or very sore the next day before moving on to workout  3 and beyond.

Workout 2

Total time: 35 to 40 minutes

Warm-up: roll your shoulders and march in place, or walk around an open space easily for 3 to   minutes, then stretch if desired.

Workout

Distance 1 mile

Walking time 26 to 31 minutes

Pace 25- to 30-minute miles

Heart zone 60 to 65% max HR

Effort RPE 2

Cool-down: March in place or circle your yard, living room, or any open space for 3 to  5  minutes, rolling your shoulders and shaking out your arms and hands before stopping to stretch.

Calories used: 70

Comments: this mile should be covered with only a couple of short breaks. You should be able to complete it without a struggle. Do you have it down? Now you’re ready to move on to the following workouts without breaks.

Workout 3

Total time: 30 to 35  minutes

Warm-up:  Walk  easily  back  and  forth  or  for  a  short  distance  for  to  minutes, then stretch if desired.

Workout

Distance 3/4 mile

Walking time 19 to 23 minutes

Pace 25- to 30-minute miles

Heart zone 55 to 65% max HR

Effort RPE 2

Cool-down: Circle an open space for  4 to 5  minutes, shaking out your shoulders and hands before stopping to stretch.

Calories used:   56

Comments: Make sure your ¾-mile walk in workout 1 is successful before trying this. Кemember that the goal is to maintain a steady, light-intensity walk without breaks.

Workout 4

Total time: 35 to 40 minutes

Warm-up: Walk easily around an open area at the start of your route for   to   minutes, then stretch if desired.

Workout

Distance 1 mile

Walking time 25 to 30 minutes

Pace 25- to 30-minute miles

Heart zone 65 to 69% max HR

Effort RPE 3

Cool-down:  Stroll  lightly,  lifting  and  lowering  your  shoulders  to  relieve tension for  4 to  5 minutes, then stretch.

Calories used: 75

Comments: Shoot for the low end in walking time, still keeping your perceived exertion light. You can repeat this workout several times,

gradually getting a little faster over a period of a few weeks, dropping from 30 minutes to 25 minutes for the workout. Once you can complete

the mile in 24 to 25 minutes, you’re ready to move on to the next group of workouts.

Workout 5

Total time: 35 to 45 minutes

Warm-up: Walk easily for 4 to 5 minutes, then stretch if desired.

Workout

Distance   1¼ miles

Walking time 26 to 29 minutes

Pace 20- to 22-minute miles

Heart zone 60 to 65% max HR

Effort RPE 2

Cool-down: Walk easily for 4 to 5 minutes, shaking out your arms, then stretch.

Calories used: 100

Comments: Notice that the pace picks up slightly as the distance increases. You should be able to hold this easily and steadily so that you feel as if you’re moving well but aren’t exhausted.

Workout 6

Total time: 45 to 50 minutes

Warm-up: Walk easily for 4 to 5 minutes, then stretch if desired.

Cool-down: Walk easily for 4 to 5 minutes, dropping your chin forward and your head from side to side to relax your neck, then stretch.

Workout

Distance 1. miles

Walking time 31 to 34 minutes

Pace 20- to 22-minute miles

Heart zone 60 to 65% max HR

Effort RPE 2

Calories used: 120

Comments: T his workout challenges you to stay closer to a 2 1-minute mile. Listen to your body, though, and go more slowly if it demands it.

Repeat this workout until you can master 20 or 21 minutes.

Workout 7

Total time: 50 minutes

Warm-up: Walk easily for 4 to 5 minutes, then stretch if desired.

Cool-down: Walk easily for 4 to 5 minutes, dropping your chin forward and your head from side to side to relax your neck, then stretch.

Workout

Distance 1. miles

Walking time 36 to 37 minutes

Pace 20-minute miles

Heart zone 60 to 69% max HR

Effort RPE 2 to 3

Calories used: 140

Comments: Try to step a bit faster, this time edging closer to a 2 0-minute mile, while still allowing yourself several rest stops. The goal is to complete the distance.

Workout 8

Total time: 35 to 45 minutes

Warm-up: Walk easily for about 5 minutes, then stretch if desired.

Cool-down: Walk easily for 4 to 5 minutes, letting the front of your foot flap down onto the ground to relax your shins, then stretch.

Workout

Distance 1. miles

Walking time 25 to 26 minutes

Pace 20- to 21-minute miles

Heart zone 60 to 69% max HR

Effort RPE 2 to 3

Calories used: 100

Comments: As you pick up your pace, you might need more warm-up.

Don’t shortchange the easy warm-up walk and loosening stretches. They can make or break your workout, not to mention your comfort and ability to stay injury free.

Workout 9

Total time: 35 to 45 minutes

Warm-up: Walk easily for about 5 minutes, then stretch if desired.

Cool-down: Walk easily for 4 to 5 minutes, letting the front of your foot flap onto the ground to relax your shins, then stretch.

Workout

Distance 1. miles

Walking time 30 to 31 minutes

Pace 20- to 21-minute miles

Heart zone 60 to 69% max HR

Effort RPE 2 to 3

Calories used: 120

Comments: Maintain the slightly faster pace as suggested in workout 8 for an additional . mile. If this is too much, try workout 5 or 8 again for several sessions.

Workout 10

Total time: 40 to 45 minutes

Warm-up: Walk easily for 5 to 7 minutes, then stretch if desired.

Cool-down: Walk easily for 5 minutes, rolling your shoulders back to stretch the front of your chest, then stretch.

Workout

Distance 1. miles

Walking time 27 to 30 minutes

Pace 18- to 20-minute miles

Heart zone 60 to 69% max HR

Effort RPE 2 to 3

Calories used: 125

Comments: This workout is the same distance as workout 9 but picks up the pace to edge your RPE toward 3. Try concentrating on the speed of your arm swing to get your feet moving.

Workout 11

Total time: 45 to 55 minutes

Warm-up: Walk easily for 5 to 7 minutes, then stretch if desired.

Cool-down: Walk easily for 5 minutes, rolling your shoulders back to

stretch the front of your chest, then stretch.

Workout

Distance 1. miles

Walking time 32 to 35 minutes

Pace 18- to 20-minute miles

Heart zone 60 to 69% max HR

Effort RPE 2 to 3

Calories used: 145

Comments: T his pace keeps you moving. Make sure you can complete this comfortably before trying a longer walk. If you need to drop back to workout 10, go ahead.

Workout 12

Total time: 50 to 55 minutes

Warm-up: Walk easily 5 to 7 minutes, then stretch if desired.

Terrain: Include a short, gradual hill in the second mile, if available.

Cool-down: Walk easily for 5 to 7 minutes, then stretch.

Workout

Distance 2 miles

Walking time 38 minutes

Pace 18- to 2 0-minute miles (see comments)

Heart zone 65 to 69% max HR

Effort RPE 3

Calories used: 160 (180 with a slight incline)

Comments: Maintain the faster 18-minute-mile pace for the first mile, if possible, then allow yourself to finish the second mile at a 2 0-minutemile pace, especially if you managed to find a slight incline or short hill.

Don’t worry if an incline significantly slows you down. It takes a whole new set of muscles and training to hike up hills. Just keep at it and do the best you can each time. Your cool-down is especially important after this workout; make sure you also take time to stretch.

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