Walking For Health & Weight Loss : Free 12 Week Printable Plan For Beginners

If you have a goal to be more active, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve regularly exercised or worked out, the plan I share with you today will be perfect. Or maybe you found me because you have a walking plan that you’d like to incorporate as part of a weight loss journey. The plan I share with you today will be perfect for that as well. 

This is a 12 week walking plan that was created by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, and recommended by Mayo Clinic. But before we dive into that, real quick if you’re new to me, my name is Berta Lippert, and I’m a Mayo Clinic trained and Board Certified health and wellness specialist, and where I specialize is helping people create change in their life such as becoming more active. 

I love this particular walking program for a number of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is it follows the same process I recommend when someone comes to me with a goal to be more active. Maybe they’ve never regularly worked out before, or maybe it’s just been a while. I always use a three-step process, and it’s always frequency first, then duration, then intensity. What i mean by that, is to focus on the frequency first, meaning the number of times you’d like to work out each week. Don’t worry about how long those workouts are. And don’t worry about how intense they are. The most important thing to do in the beginning is to create the healthy habit of carving out time for you to be active. Once you’ve got that established, then you can go ahead and make those workouts longer, or those walks longer in this particular plan. And then finally the intensity such as moving from walking to jogging to running. But always start with frequency first.

With this particular plan, I also really like that you can do it anywhere. This is something you don’t need any additional equipment for. You’re going to want to make sure you feel safe. And you’re hoping the weather cooperates, or things like that. So just in case you’re not able to walk outdoors, that’s okay too. Just try to get creative and see if there is a mall or a community center or a university, or your workplace maybe. You can definitely do this in your own home too. So if you have a treadmill great. If not you can absolutely do this particular program just walking in place, which may sound weird, but it can absolutely work! 

One thing to note with regards to any program or any activity that you start when you haven’t been active in a while, is you always want to check with your doctor first to make sure this is going to be be a really good program for you to use. This particular program will work for most people. Even if you haven’t worked out in a while. But you always want to make sure, so check with your doctor first.

So let’s say that you’ve been given the all clear. That your doctor looks over this plan and determines it’s a great plan to use. I created a workbook you can use to be able to help you plan out the next 12 weeks for you. Because I know there is power in seeing what your goals are, and in writing. Taking the time to plan out your goals and track your progress makes you much more likely to succeed. I want you to feel good about the days you walked so go ahead and mark them and visualize that success.

In the workbook, you’ll see I created three blank calendars. I left a spot each day for the particular walk that you’ll take, but also a goal section. Maybe you want to also drink more water during that month or maybe have a goal to sleep a little more than you have been. So you’ll see I have a goal section for the month too. But here’s how the program works. Over the span of 12 weeks, you want to work your way up to walking five days a week, and then ultimately 30 minutes a day. If you can walk those 30 minutes a day, five times a week, you’ll meet the recommended guidelines of 150 minutes of the moderate aerobic activity each week. The way it’s planned in this particular program, is there’s always a warm up, and there’s always a cool down. And in the middle, that moderate exercise is a “brisk
walk”. What a brisk walk will be if you’re on a treadmill, is usually between three or four miles per hour. If you’re walking outside, or even just indoors in place, and you’re breathing a little heavier than you normally do, but you’re able to still maintain a conversation, that’s a good indicator that you are walking briskly.

So what you would do, is each week, you’ll see that the plan just simply adds a couple more minutes each week during that brisk walking phase. So you start it at five minutes, then seven, nine, and so on to work your way over 12 weeks to where you’ll be walking 30 minutes a day.

It’s a great plan, and super easy to follow. I hope the workbook makes this easier for you as well. Maybe you can’t do five days a week in the beginning. Maybe you just don’t have the capacity. You just don’t have the time right now. But you still have a goal to be more active, then do one, do two, do three days. Whatever you can fit in, okay? There’s no problem with that at all. And also, it doesn’t have to be exactly what you see here over the span of 12 weeks. Use this as a guide and tailor it.

I really wanted to share this with you because it would work for most people, and it’s super easy to follow. I also really like that you can do it anywhere without having to track miles or distance. You’re just going to simply track time. You could just use your watch or your phone to track the time.

I hope that you find this useful. I’m excited for you to try this if it’s been a while since you worked out.

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Thank you so much for letting me share this with you, and I will see you next time!

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