Guest Author - Carla Cano
There are many benefits to starting an exercise program. This fact is hard to dispute. Many people, perhaps even you, are not starting an exercise program because they do not know where to begin. Small changes can make a huge impact. A six week challenge is a great place to start. This six week challenge is only going to ask you to add walking to your lifestyle. Together we can make a change that becomes a habit. A habit that will help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.
The way to implement something in your life is to first enjoy doing it. If you dread something you will find a way to avoid it. So choose something you enjoy doing. Assuming walking is that something, the first thing to do it determine your starting point. You can adapt this six week challenge to whatever exercise program you choose. Many “couch potatoes” benefit greatly from beginning their fitness goals with simple walking.
Week one is your starting point. The first step is going for a walk. Ask yourself a couple of questions as you walk.
How many minutes can you walk before starting to tire?
What are some of the safety observations you can make of your chosen path?
Are your socks and shoes comfortable?
Is your clothing comfortable and breathable?
After answering each of the questions you will have a starting point for beginning your six week challenge. First make sure that your path/trail is safe, make sure your shoes and clothing is comfortable and breathable.
Target week one: Starting day - walk until you tire. Walk that same amount of time two more days in the week.
Now you know you can’t continue walking the same time or distance each day. You have to challenge yourself. As your muscles, lungs, heart, and other systems get stronger you will be able to do more.
Target week two: 3 Days a week increase walking time by 5 minutes.
In week three you will notice things like how much time it will take and/ or what time of day ensures you will get your exercise time in. It is important to understand what triggers you have that become obstacles to your activity. Make sure those obstacles are dealt with quickly and efficiently so that you can get back to taking care of yourself.
Target week three: 4 days a week increased by 10 minutes.
During week four you should be feeling great. You are on your way to following an exercise program for an entire month. This is a big accomplishment. It proves your dedication and desire. So take a few minutes to congratulate yourself and spur yourself on for the last couple of weeks.
Target week four: 5 days a week increased by 10 minutes.
Walking five days a week is no joke. It can be easy to get sidetracked. It takes persistence and determination. The next thing you need to do is increase your intensity. There are many ways to increase the intensity of your workout, with walking is often a matter of walking faster or adding interval intensity.
Target week five: 5 days a week and increase your speed for 30 seconds every 6 minutes.
Successfully completing a challenge is a great triumph, it is not, however, a stopping point. Your walking routine should now be apart of your daily activities. You have shifted your schedule, you have made it a vital part of your day. You should feel like anything is possible. You can reach your goals and you have successfully completed the six week challenge.
Target week six: 5 days a week and increase your speed for 30 seconds every 3 minutes.
Week one : Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday walk for 10 minutes a day.
Week two : Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday walk for 15 minutes a day.
Week three : Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday walk for 25 minutes a day.
Week four : Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday walk for 35 minutes a day.
Week five : Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday walk for 6 minutes, increase speed to speed walk or light jog for 30 seconds, five times.
Week six : Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday walk for 3 minutes, increase speed to speed walk or light jog for 30 seconds, 10 times.
As you take this six week challenge you can adjust anything you need to adjust according to your fitness level. If you need to do week four a few more days, then do it. The important thing is to get off the couch, away from the television or computer screen and do something healthy for yourself.
I would like to invite you to take the six week challenge. Visit the forums and join the conversation about the differences it makes in your life or get a bit of encouragement during the next 6 weeks.