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Start A Walking Program

Physical activity begins to decline between the ages of 20-39. Those who start exercising earlier have better health later in life. Exercising is one of the most important ways to reduce your risk of disease and to improve your overall health. Any physical activity is better than none and the more active you become the better. It’s never too late to start exercising and walking can be a great first step. You can begin your program gradually and work up to the guidelines listed here.

Why Exercise?

  • Being sedentaryincreases your risk of heart disease by 1 ½ times which is just as much as smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
  • Being physically active reduces your risk of many diseases including:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Cancer
    • Depression
  • Being physically active can reduce the risk of falling by 29% in older adults

Exercise Recommendations from American Heart Association:

150 minutes of moderate activities per week
(walking at a rate of 100 steps/minute)


75 minutes of vigorous activities per week
(running or swimming)

How to Start a Walking Program in 4 Weeks


  • Sit Less: Avoid taking less than 5,000 steps per day or sitting for long periods
  • Walk More: Aim for at least 7,500 steps per day
  • Exercise: 3,000 of these steps in a 30 minute time frame (rate of 100 steps/min)

How to Reach Your Goals:

  1. Buy a pedometer to track your steps
  2. Start small and progress gradually by adding 5 to 10 min a day each week until you reach at least 30 min per day

Here are some examples for gradually progressing your walking program. Talk to your physical therapist to learn more about the right program for you.

Example 1:

Example 2:

Download the Walking Plan

Stay motivated

Starting a walking program takes initiative. Sticking with it takes commitment. To stay motivated:

  • Set yourself up for success. Start with a simple goal, such as taking a 10-minute walk during your lunch break. When your 10-minute walk becomes a habit, set a new goal, such as walking for 20 minutes before or after work. Soon you could be reaching for goals that once seemed impossible.
  • Make walking enjoyable. If you don't enjoy solitary walks, ask a friend or neighbor to join you. If you're energized by groups, join a health club or a walking group.
  • Vary your routine. If you walk outdoors, plan several different routes for variety. If you walk indoors on a treadmill, vary the incline.
  • Take missed days in stride. If you find yourself skipping your daily walks, don't give up. Remind yourself how good you feel when you include physical activity in your daily routine — and then get back on track.

Ready to step it up?

Try our 9 week Walk to 5K program or join our gym.

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