Get Started With a Walking Program – Your Health Depends On It

Walking Program

Getting started

  • Get a baseline – How long can you walk before you need to rest? Also, if you have a pedometer – how many steps do you take during the day?
  • Problems with balance or arthritis?  You may need a walking device to help you to walk safer and with less pain. Consult your physical therapist.
  • History of cardiac problems, low blood pressure or diabetes? Consult with your doctor and/or physical therapist. We want you to be successful!

Which category do you fit into? (Don’t let these numbers discourage you! You should try to compete with yourself AND use a pedometer that really counts every step!)

  • Sedentary Lifestyle – < 5,000 steps/day
  • Low Active – between 5,000 to 7,499 steps/day (typical of daily activity excluding sports/exercise)
  • Somewhat Active – 7,500 to 9,999 steps/day
  • Active – > 10,000 steps/day
  • Highly Active – > 12,500 steps/day

Norms – Steps by age:

  • Younger than 65 years old – between 8,899 to 9,996 steps/day
  • > 65 years old – between 6,565 to 8,233 steps/day

Walking recommendations

  •  Start walking more than your baseline but perform to your tolerance. Do this daily.
  • Build up gradually with your walking time, steps and intensity
  • Goal: 30 minutes of walking most days of the week at increments not less than 10 minutes
  • Use a walking device if needed for balance or pain to allow you to walk more 


  • Pedometers are motivational to increase walking steps/day. This can result in improved walking speeds and stamina. You can track progress.
  • To find information on pedometers go to this website:

Bohannon, R. W. (2007). “Number of pedometer-assessed steps taken per day by adults: a descriptive meta-analysis.” Phys Ther 87(12): 1642-50.

Bravata, D. M., C. Smith-Spangler, et al. (2007). “Using pedometers to increase physical activity and improve health: a systematic review.” JAMA 298(19): 2296-304.

Ellis, T., N. K. Latham, et al. “Feasibility of a virtual exercise coach to promote walking in community-dwelling persons with Parkinson disease.” Am J Phys Med Rehabil 92(6): 472-81; quiz 482-5.

Nelson, M. E., W. J. Rejeski, et al. (2007). “Physical activity and public health in older adults: recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association.” Circulation 116(9): 1094-105.

Tudor-Locke, C. and D. R. Bassett, Jr. (2004). “How many steps/day are enough? Preliminary pedometer indices for public health.” Sports Med 34(1): 1-8.

One Response to “Get Started With a Walking Program – Your Health Depends On It”

  1. Bob Seymour says:

    A client of mind let me borrow your book, “How to Live Well With Parkinson’s:” I am a Personal Trainer and have been working with People who have Parkinson’s for 11 years now. I found the Chapter on Walking Problems and Remedies, especially the Freezing symptom to be particularly helpful. I liked it so much that I am purchasing your book to see what other pearls may be in the book that can be helpful to my clients. Thank you

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