Improve your cardio fitness and burn some calories with this easy to follow 20 minute brisk walk program. It uses a mixture of normal and brisk walking intervals to get your heart rate up for maximum benefit from your walk.
What is brisk walking?
At a brisk walking pace, you will be aware that your body is working harder than usual. You will start to feel warmer and slightly out of breath. Holding a conversation will not be as easy as it is at normal walking pace. For the average person, this will be a walking speed of around 4mph/6.5 kmph.
The six week plan
As you can see from the chart below, each week the walk is split into 5 intervals of normal speed and brisk walking. Although the walks stay at 20 minutes total length, the time walking at a brisk pace increases each week.
Mapping your route and timing the walking intervals
When planning your walking route, you have 3 options:
- There and back: the most straightforward option. You walk for 10 minutes and then turn around and walk back.
- A circular route: not necessarily circular, it can be any shape, but you plan a route that will bring you back to where you started without turning around.
- A to B: you end your walk in a different place to where you started.
With an A to B route, you don’t need to plan the route, you just need to have a rough idea of where you want to walk. With the other options, you would need to plan your route. In order to do this, you need to know the distance you will be covering. Distance covered will vary a little from person to person as walking speeds vary, but at the average speeds shown in the table above, the distances would be as follows:
How often should you walk?
So that your fitness improves enough each week to progress to the next week’s schedule, you should do the walk at least 3 times a week. If you can manage 4 or 5 times, even better!
Comfort and safety
Make sure you’re comfortable walking:
- Wear layers so that as you warm up at brisk walking pace you can remove some clothing
- You don’t need trainers necessarily, but you should wear flat, well-fitting shoes
- Take a bottle of water with you to ensure you stay hydrated. Read more about hydration.
This program should be safe for anyone in good health, but please check these safety guidelines.
Buying a treadmill for home use
Now that folding treadmills are widely available, having a home treadmill doesn’t mean you need a dedicated workout space. You can fold your treadmill up and store it out of the way between workouts. If you’re thinking of buying a home treadmill, here are some points you should consider:
- Are you likely to run on it? If so, you should avoid very lightweight models. Also, a cushioned running/walking deck will help to absorb impact.
- Dimensions: there’s a slight variation in dimensions between models. If you’re tall, you might prefer a longer walking/running deck to allow for a longer stride. Obviously, the treadmill needs to fit in your chosen storage place when it is folded away.
- What sort of a console do you want? Is it important to you to have a multi-feature console with a choice of preset programs, or will you be happy with something simple that just lets you set speed and incline? Extra functions add to the cost of the treadmill, so think about whether you really need them.
- What is the incline range? Some treadmills only have a limited incline range. Models that offer up to 12% give you more options to vary your workouts and to challenge yourself more as your fitness improves.
- Maximum speed – if you run fast, or plan to do sprint intervals, you should bear the maximum speed in mind. For walking, or average speed running, any treadmill will be fine.
Recommended folding treadmill
This is a reasonably priced folding treadmill with an incline up to 12% and a maximum speed of 8mph (fairly fast running speed). The display screen shows time, speed, distance, calories burned, and heart rate and you can connect your device to play music through the built in speakers.
20 minute brisk walk schedule
This is the schedule for the 6 weeks.
Sign up for My Fitness Planner updates and get a link to free printable PDF the schedule e-mailed to you:
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If the e-mails haven’t turned up within a few minutes, please check your junk folder, as some service providers have very strict filters.