A First Step Toward Success: Start Your Walking Program Now!

picture of pedestrian signEven if you’ve been a couch potato for a long time, starting a physical activity program really doesn’t have to be hard. And of course, there’s the benefit of helping reduce the risk for heart disease, the No. 1 killer of all Americans.  Some activities such as jogging, skiing, aerobic dancing, swimming, and cycling are great for your heart, but it may feel overwhelming to get started. Walking, however, is an easy, virtually free form of exercise you can fit into your daily schedule without too much effort.

The Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. And while that may sound daunting as well, you can start slowly and gradually increase your activity until you’re doing about 30 minutes of activity most days of the week.

To get started, why don’t you join us on April 2 for National Start Walking Day? In recognition of this event, Wellpower will host a 1.5 – 2 mile walk at noon starting on the steps of Dallas Hall.

Wellpower Walk Information

Take the first step toward success
If you’ve been sedentary for a long time, are overweight, have a high risk of heart disease or another chronic health problem, talk to your doctor before you start a walking program.

To get started:

  • Try to walk at the same time of day so it becomes part of your lifestyle. You might walk every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 12:30 p.m.
  • Find a convenient time and place. Try to make walking a habit, but be flexible. If you miss an t give up. Work activity into your day another way.
  • Find a companion. You’re more likely to stick with it if you have a buddy.
  • Wear comfortable, properly fitting sneakers or flat shoes with laces and comfortable,
    loose-fitting clothing.
  • Look for chances to be more active during the day. Walk the mall before shopping, take
    15 minute breaks while watching TV or sitting for walking or some other activity.
  • Keep yourself accountable but cut yourself some slack if you stop for a while. Get started again gradually and work up to your old pace.
  • Already a walker and you want to pick up the pace? Tack another mile onto your regular route, try a more challenging path or add an extra day of the week.
  • Let technology help you. Get a pedometer and wear it daily. There are many new devices on the market that work with your smartphone or computer, in addition to standard pedometers. Simply being aware of your daily steps will help you set realistic goals.
  • Track and celebrate your successes.

Create a personal challenge:

If you participate in Wellpower, you may want to create a personal challenge around walking! You may complete two personal challenges in the spring reward period.

Personal Challenge Information


Visit StartWalkingNow.org to find American Heart Association-designated walking paths, personalized walking plans, an online community of walkers and more. Record the distance or length of time of your activity and how you feel after each session. Reward yourself at special milestones. Nothing motivates like success!

Healthy U HR

Walking program developed by American Council on Exercise® in collaboration with the AHA.

Questions? Email wellpower@smu.edu

About Lorea Seidel

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