The Ultimate Walking Plan for Beginners

Walking is completely underrated for fitness. There’s this expectation that if you’re not sweating and exhausted after a workout, you’re not doing anything useful. Here’s the deal. Walking is a great way to get active. You may not have had physical activity in a while. This walking plan for beginners is a great way to get started.

You don’t even have to do that much. Just last week, a new study was published that said about 7500 steps a day is great for fitness. Anything more than that doesn’t seem to make a difference.

Read on for a fantastic walking program for beginners that will get you up and walking in no time.

Benefits of Walking

I became sold on walking for fitness when I moved into a new apartment in Bethlehem, PA a few months ago. I’m in a historic/downtown district, which is great because it provides a lot of opportunities to explore and check out the unique architecture of my neighborhood.

When I combined that with my workout routine provided to be by Joey Dussel, the pounds started coming off.

I also felt a difference in my body. Believe it or not, even though I’m a fitness coach, I sit a lot. I write sitting down, I meet with clients sitting down. I spend most of my day on my ass.

After a while, my hips became tight, my hamstrings are tight and my glutes became weak. Walking and a regular stretching routine that I do while I watch TV has proven to be a miracle cure for my hips. They’re much more mobile and they continue to improve as I get more movement.

Walking is so underrated because we have this expectation that we’re supposed to sweat and grind to lose weight. You can use walking to supplement a weight training program. It works! It’s great just to move and enjoy the weather. You also see things in your neighborhood differently because you’re not speeding by at 30 MPH

Walking Plan for Beginners

Your program is largely going to depend on your starting point. You may have a hard time getting around the block. That’s OK. Start there. You want to make sure that you challenge yourself, but you don’t want to injure yourself, either. That’s why starting slow is the best thing.

DISCLAIMER: Always check with your doctor before starting any physical activity program.

This is for complete beginners starting a walking program. Early on, you’re going to start small and then build up your time and mileage over time. The goal of this program is to get you to walk for 60 minutes. At this point, we’re not concerned about the distance you travel, just the time.

As you progress into the intermediate/advanced program, you can experiment with your walking pace.

beginners walking plan spreadsheet

Download the PDF version of the beginner’s walking program.

This is a pretty simple plan to follow that doesn’t take up much time. If you find that your body is really tight, you can do a little extra stretching on rest days. Sunday is a day of complete rest that you want to take advantage of. No stretching, no planned activity. Just enjoy the day.

If you find that you’re progressing faster or you’re starting out walking 60 minutes already, then you’re going to want to check out the Intermediate/Advanced Walking Program

Walking Plan for Beginners

Your program is largely going to depend on your starting point. You may have a hard time getting around the block. That’s OK. Start there. You want to make sure that you challenge yourself, but you don’t want to injure yourself, either. That’s why starting slow is the best thing.

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Tips for Your Walking Program

When you’re walking around your neighborhood or on the treadmill, it’s easy to get bored and give up. We don’t want to see that happen, so I put together these tips that will help you get the most out of your walking plan for beginners.

1. Set Goals

What do you want to accomplish with your new walking plan? Do you want to lose weight? Maybe you just need to move more?

Whatever it is you want to accomplish, write it down! Invest in a fitness tracker if you have to help you reach your goals.

2. Be Present

It’s so easy to tune out the world when you’re walking around. You are missing out on so much by staying in your head or throwing on a set of earbuds.

Be present in your walks. Look people in the eye and say hello. Look at the architecture around you. Notice the trees and flowers blooming. Listen to the birds chirping.

It can be hard to listen and be present when you hear traffic or the busy sounds of city life. I encourage you to find an outdoor quiet path at least once a week to tune into people and nature and tune out of the daily grind.

The more present and connected you are, the better it is for your emotional health. It’s how walking can be great for your body, mind, and spirit.

3. Take Paths That Inspire You

I am fortunate enough to live in an area where I’m inspired every time I walk out the door.

There’s also a creek and a couple of trails nearby that I can easily walk to. I can even take a walk to the Wind Creek Casino, place a couple of slot machines, and come home (not that I have done that😊).

Lately, I’ve been going out and seeing a flock of geese that are in the area for the spring. There are about 8 adults and a dozen baby geese. I go out and see them every day and watch the babies grow up. I’ve also been fortunate enough to find a couple of baby bunnies hiding around nearby. These are little things that bring me a ton of joy and brighten my day.

I encourage you to do the same for yourself. Find a trail or two that are peaceful and will keep you engaged. You’ll be surprised how much fun walking becomes. Every day is a new adventure.

4. Wear Comfortable Shoes

You’ll want to invest in a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Walking shoes have a ton of different styles and features to support your body. You want something that has a lower heel to keep your body aligned when you walk. You also want something that feels comfortable when you’re walking, especially as you start to build up mileage.

Consider shopping at a local running shoe store before you start your walking program. Have them look at your gait (how you walk) and they can make recommendations accordingly.

5. Watch Your Posture

I don’t know if it’s an east coast thing, but I always seem to notice that we’re trying to get somewhere fast. That means that we tend to lean forward when we walk. Sometimes, we’re leaning forward and looking down at our phones.

When you walk, you don’t want to carry your bad posture habits with you. Walking with a solid posture trains your body to fight against the damage you may do to it all the time by being hunched over at the computer.

Check your neck and shoulders – are they scrunched up by your ears? Bring your shoulders down and back. Make sure your neck is in a neutral position and not stretched forward.

Check your overall posture – are you on your toes, leaning forward? Bring your weight back on your heels a little bit.

6. Have Fun!

Walking around should be an enjoyable activity. If it feels like a chore, you’re going to wind up on the couch fast. That’s why it’s so important to walk around in places that inspire you.

Don’t be afraid to stop, take pictures, and smell the flowers. Walking isn’t an activity that you have to “power through.” You can just relax and enjoy yourself during your walks.

7. Stay Hydrated!

You don’t think that you’re going to expend that much energy and need a water bottle with you. In some cases, like for short walks on cool days, you can leave the water bottle at home.

On hot and humid days, you’ll want to have water with you. You won’t realize how much water you’re losing because walking is a low impact activity.

As a side note, reach for water instead of a sports drink. Sports drinks tend to be full of sugar and if you’re trying to lose weight, you can easily defeat the purpose of walking.

Even coconut waters can be full of sugar, too. The lesson is to stick with water for hydration. If you need to reach for something with flavor, always check the label for added sugars and ingredients.

A Beginner’s Walking Program You Can Stick With

When you’re just getting back into fitness after a long layoff, it’s best to start slowly and build yourself back up.

Walking is a wonderful activity for fitness and overall health. This walking plan for beginners is meant to help you get back on track. Remember to enjoy your time walking and get outside as much as you can.

Are you ready for more fitness tips? Take a look at the Ulitmate Workout Guide for Women.


Heather McDaniel is the founder of Invincible Women Fitness Academy, and a nationally certified fitness and nutrition coach. She helps women over 40 all over the world train their bodies, hearts, and minds so that they can live with confidence and joy.

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