What are some tips for starting to walk for exercise?

Prior to starting any form of exercise, be sure to set a goal. If your goal is as simple as “I am going to start walking to get active and be healthy” then that is a wonderful goal! If we do not set ourselves up for success then we will fail.

Some tips:

  • Start and walking log and walking calendar. These will allow you to log you steps/miles and track/monitor your progress
  • Have comfortable walking shoes
  • Stretch before and after
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day
  • Eat well balanced meals to keep energy levels up


Before starting any exercise routine get checked out by your family physician.  Make sure you have a pair of comfortable, supportive athletic shoes. Comfortable, visible clothing is important. It is always a fun idea to workout with a partner so find a walking partner to keep you committed to your program. Choose a route, drive it first and get a mileage count that way you can track your progress and find your way home. Make sure you have a water bottle or some type of hydration pack to take along. Get up, get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine

It is important to make sure you are fit to exercise before you start a program.  Meet with your doctor and find out how much you can push yourself.  Buy shoes that fit you well and are made for walking. Then, get started. It might make sense to meet with a trainer to get some good stretching and warm-up exercises.  Those who warm up before exercise are less likely to become injured.

A trainer can also help you to pace yourself. One of the best ways to fail at an exercise program is to start out by overdoing it. I suggest that you start out slow and start with short distances.  Once you feel comfortable then you can increase your time and distance.

Many years ago I interviewed a female patient who had been over 300 pounds. Her husband left her for another woman and she was filled with anguish. She decided to start walking.  She began with five minutes a day. Every day she increased her walk by five minutes.  After about a month she was walking over a mile a day and noticed she had lost 15 pounds and that she was feeling better. She kept on going.  After two years she had lost over 150 pounds and she looked and felt great.  She attributed most of her weight loss to her exercise. (Ironically her ex-husband and his girlfriend gained the 150 pounds that she lost!)

The bottom line: Start your exercise and walking program by being safe and sensible!


Dawn Marcus
Before starting any new fitness program, be sure to check with your doctor. Including Fido as your walking buddy will make walks more enjoyable and increase the likelihood that you’ll stick to your walking program. Here are a few tips for success:
  • Plan to walk at least five days per week.
  • Measure your walks in time rather than distance. Start out walking 10
           minutes per walk. Every few days increase the number of times
           you walk each day. You can also add in longer walks. Aim for a
           total of 30 minutes of walking with Fido daily.
  • Walk at a good pace. You should still be able to comfortably chat
           while walking. If you can sing while you walk, try picking up the
           pace. If you are too winded to talk, slow down.
  • Carry water for you and Fido and take drink breaks during your walks.
  • Try to walk during the cooler parts of the day.
  • Make walking fun -- vary your routes, speed, and even consider
           adding in a few skips and hops along the way!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.