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12-Week Walking Program

This program requires you to monitor your heart rate and build intensity. You want to hit a pace that will get your heart into the "target zone": fast enough that you’re breathing hard, but not so fast that you’re out of breath. To calculate your target heart rate go to besthealthmag.ca/heartrate or invest in a heart rate monitor. Monitors are worn like a watch and give you the added incentive of tracking your target heart rate and (for most models) the calories burned. They range in price from $60 to $130 depending on the style and are available at most sporting goods and department stores.

The plan

Week 1
Frequency:
5 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 10 minutes at 50-60% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

Week 2
Frequency:
5 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 15 minutes at 50-60% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

Week 3
Frequency:
5 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 20 minutes at 50-60% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

Week 4
Frequency:
5 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 20 minutes at 60% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

Week 5
Frequency:
5 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 20 minutes at 60-70% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

Week 6
Frequency:
5 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 20 minutes at 60-70% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

Week 7
Frequency:
5 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 25 minutes at 60-70% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

Week 8
Frequency:
5 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 25 minutes at 70% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

Week 9
Frequency:
5 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 30 minutes at 70% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

Week 10
Frequency:
5 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 35 minutes at 70% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

Week 11
Frequency:
3 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 35 minutes at 70% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

Frequency: 2 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 30 minutes at 70% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

Week 12
Frequency: 3 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 35 minutes at 70% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

Frequency: 2 times a week
The warm-up: 5 minutes of slow walking
The workout: walk for 30 minutes at 70% maximum heart rate
The cool down: 5 minutes of slow walking

This 12-week program appears in an article titled "Walk your way slim," in the May 2009 of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.

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