Walking Programs and Walking Workouts That Inspire and Motivate

For Beginner Walkers

Walking is a great way to exercise, but you have to be consistent and stick with a regular program to get best results. For people who aren’t used to exercising, walking is the perfect exercise to get in the habit. You will do better if instead of setting unrealistic goals and wearing yourself out, you start more modestly. This chart shows you how you can work your way up over a 12 week period by starting small.

Our Beginning Walking Program calls for walking every day, but many busy people might have trouble finding the time to do this. As with any new habit, consistency is the key to success. If you can’t walk every day, start with a 4 or 5 day program. The important thing is to stick with it and keep it interesting and engaging for you.

Check out our beginners page for more ideas and tips for starting a successful walking program.

For Intermediate Walkers

As your fitness improves through walking at least 5 days per week, so will your confidence and desire to get more out of walking. For intermediate walkers like you, increasing your pace is one of the best ways to get the most from walking for exercise.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers walking at 3 miles per hour to be a brisk pace. But for many walkers, this pace won’t give you the aerobic workout you’re looking for. To get there, you should work to increase your pace to at least 4 miles per hour, which translates to 15 minutes per mile.

Remember that brisk walking should make you breathe harder than usual. If you increase your pace to 4 miles per hour, you still may be breathing normally while walking. If that’s the case, you have even more room to walk faster without wearing yourself out.

Learn more about brisk walking here.

Walking Programs for Aerobic Workouts, Power Walking, Treadmills, and More

To get a good aerobic workout through walking, you must increase your heart rate to at least 70% of its maximum capacity for at least 20 minutes. Intermediate walkers might find accessories like heart rate monitors and pulse monitors useful. The general rule is that if you can still sing while walking, you’re not walking briskly enough for the aerobic workout you want.

In general, to increase your heart rate while walking, you need both a brisk pace and more arm movements to stimulate more muscle groups and get your heart rate up. Again, we’re not talking about race walking here, which is a specialized form of walking that most people find too physically taxing and less fun than aerobic walking.

Find aerobic walking workouts on our aerobic walking page.

Power Walking

Similar to aerobic walking, power walking combines walking at a brisk pace and aerobic walking into one intense workout. Power walkers tend to be more experienced, but that doesn’t mean beginners can’t try it. Power walking is considered one step below jogging, so your pace will be faster and you will use more arm motion to get a good aerobic workout.

Learn more about power walking here.


Walking is so natural that most people think of getting outside and exploring while getting a healthy workout. But today, treadmills give people more options to work out. With a treadmill, you can walk for exercise no matter the weather. You can even work out in the office with a treadmill.

Read about treadmills and how you can get the most from them here.

Long Distance Walking

The more confidence and experience you gain walking for exercise, the farther you will want to go. Long distance walking is nearly unlimited and bound only by your imagination. One of the most popular long distances for both runners and walkers is 10 kilometers (10K). This distance—about 6.2 miles—is popular for organized and charity walks and is a realistic goal for beginners.

Learn more about completing a 10K walk here.

Interval Walking

Interval walking means mixing aerobic walking with periods of slower walking. Many beginners like this method because it allows them to get a good workout without wearing themselves down with too much activity. The idea is to let your heart and breathing rates settle down a little before continuing your workout. One of the best benefits of interval walking is that it helps you avoid the plateau that slows calorie burning.

Read more about interval walking here.

At-Home or Mall Walking

When the weather gets too wet, hot, or cold for walking outside, and if you don’t own your own treadmill and want to avoid high gym membership fees, walking around an indoor shopping mall is a popular alternative. You can also walk at home to get the same results.

Discover more about the benefits of at-home walking and mall walking here.

Walking Stairs

For the intermediate walker who’s ready for more of a challenge, walking stairs is a great way to bust through a walking and weight loss plateau. You can work more muscle groups and burn up to 50% more calories walking stairs than walking normally. Stair climbing has even become a competitive sport, with skyscraper stair climbs as charity events in many cities.

Learn how to bust through a plateau by walking stairs.

Stroller Walking

Another idea that is popular with new parents is stroller walking, when you can take your baby out on your fitness adventures. Stroller walking is healthy for parents and babies. The parents get a good workout and needed exercise, and the baby experiences all the color and sound of the great outdoors.

Our stroller walking page offers handy tips to keep you and your baby fit.

Race Walking

If you’re ready to increase your walking speed and endurance, race walking may be for you. Unlike running when often both feet leave the ground, race walking means at least one foot is always in contact with the ground. Two popular race walking techniques make this method of working out fruitful and satisfying for many people.

Check out our race walking page for more detailed information about this Olympic sport.

Nordic Walking

As the name implies, Nordic walking is similar to Nordic skiing except instead of skis, you use special walking poles, applying force through the poles with every step. This walking method increases your upper body strength and gives your body a deeper aerobic walking workout.

Learn more about Nordic walking techniques here.