For best results, work backward from your goal

This person is walking, but not working out.
The first quiz determined your base fitness level and was used to provide you with an appropriate, basic walking program. The second quiz was used to modify the program for your personality.

This third quiz will be used to customize your walking program one more level, to meet your goals.

Third quiz

Which of these is most important for you?

A) Long-term health, well-being, and simply feeling better about myself.
B) Improved health, but I also want to lose at least 10 pounds.
C) I may want to lose a few pounds and certainly want to be healthy, but I really want to be fitter and stronger, and have a more athletic physique.

Pick one of the following as the vacation youd most likely take.

A) A trip with lots of leisure time and relaxation, plus opportunities for walking tours of great museums or historic and natural sites if I have the time and motivation.
B) A walking tour from inn to inn or town to town, with moderate daily walks and plenty of rest and relaxation in the evenings, and the option for some bike riding, too.
C) A trekking vacation in the Canadian Rockies, or a visit to climb the volcanoes and shore trails of Hawaii, with some mountain biking or kayaking planned in the mix.

Which of these workouts would leave you feeling the best?

A) A nice 30-minute stroll outdoors, enjoying nature and the simple joy of moving.
B) A brisk 40-minute walk that leaves me with warm muscles and noticeably breathing, then a few minutes of relaxed stretching.
C) A fast 35-minute walk that leaves me sweaty and breathing hard, followed by some weight lifting and stretching.

Score 1 point for an A, 2 for a B, 3 for a C. If you scored:

3 or 4 points
Work toward the Healthy Body & Mind goals: The key is to balance your walking with just enough stretching and other activities to maintain muscle and bone health and avoid injuries. Strategic tip: Try one of these lifestyle ideas to build forced cross-training into your week.
Plant a garden (big enough that it requires some digging and weeding).
Attend a weekly dance, or sign up for a weekly dance or aerobics class.
Sign up to coach your childs soccer or basketball team and hustle with the kids.
Come up with any equally active chore or avocation and make it a habit.

5 to 7 points
Work toward the Weight Control goals: Start stretching, and add a simple at-home strength routine, with occasional gym visits. Strategic tip: Pick at least one of these and really do it:
Purchase a yoga, stretching, or tai chi video with 15- to 30-minute routines.
Buy a set of dumbbells (ranging from 3 to 10 pounds).
Make a firm workout date with a friend for one of your longer or faster walks.
Also, make stretching a part of your routine at least five days out of the week.

8 or 9 points
Work toward the Personal Best goals: Embark on a comprehensive program building strength, coordination, and flexibility. Walking to a great body demands a lot of time and determination.

Strategic tip: Your key to success will be learning to do things right it will reduce the chance of injury and increase the effectiveness of your work. From proper fast-walking technique and weight-lifting form to learning yoga moves or building a circuit routine, be sure to get instruction on anything new youre trying, and begin new activities gradually.

Consider joining a health or racquet club or sports team to help lock in your cross-training activity.

Complete the program

Healthy Body and Mind

Monday: Perform some strength moves. Finish up your walk with some strength moves or squeeze them in during the day. It should take you less than 10 minutes.

Tuesday: Stretch. At the end of your walk, or after your last flight of stairs, stretch for five minutes. The key stretches are back/hamstring, calf/hip, and shin/thigh; add more if you have time or other trouble spots.

Wednesday: Walk less and stretch more. Less walking today means you may have a few more minutes to stretch. Try each of Tuesdays moves twiceslow and relaxed; it still should take less than 10 minutes.

Thursday: Make today tough. This should be your hardest daya speedy walking workout, then try to repeat the Quick Strength Moves of Monday. Ideally do the full routine twice.

Friday: Rest. Take today off, unless you missed the calisthenics on Thursday if so, do them today.

Saturday: Walk and stretch. Log your time, then be certain to get in the Four-Minute Stretch routine (do every move twice) today.

Sunday: Cross-train. Spend 30 minutes doing anything that gets you moving: yard work (raking and digging, not watering the lawn), wrestling with the kids, tossing a Frisbee with an inaccurate partner.

Weight Control

Monday: Work your upper body. Add a 15-minute upper-body routine with dumbbells to your day: Muscle-building is key to long-term weight loss. Include chest and shoulder presses, biceps curls, triceps dips, and abdominal crunches. For technique, see a video, or A Firm Promise in the December 99 walking.

Tuesday: Work toward becoming more flexible. After todays hills or stairs, fire up a video for at least 15 minutes of dynamic flexibility workyoga, dance, PNF stretching, whatever appeals to you.

Wednesday: Stretch both your muscles and your workout. Add 5 minutes to your goal for Wednesday in weeks 2 and 3 (or add 750 steps for the day); add 10 minutes (or 1,500 steps) in week 4. Stretch after walking or in the evening after a warm shower do every move twice.

Thursday: Partner up. This is an ideal walk to do with a friend not to chat, but to push each other and be sure youre moving at a sweat-inducing pace. Then do two sets of strength moves. Finish up with some easy stretching.

Friday: Rest. You dont need to go for a scheduled walk today unless you missed other days.

Saturday: Increase the intensity. The goal is to burn more calories. Add 10 minutes to your walking time for this day in weeks 2 and 4 (thats 1,500 extra steps). Even better, try to do this on trails rather than sidewalks. That will help boost the calorie burn. Be sure to stretch after these longer walks.

Sunday: Get out and play. Whether you try soccer with the kids or backyard volleyball, keep moving for at least 30 minutes. Then fire up a videotape or take a class for 15 to 30 minutes of yoga or another dynamic strength and flexibility workout, such as tai chi.

Personal Best

Monday: Hit the weights. Do a 20- to 30-minute routine with one or two exercises for all major muscle groups (arms and shoulders, trunk, hips and gluteals, legs). If youre just starting, work with an instructor or video at first. Ideal total-body moves include push-ups, dips, pull-ups, squats, lunges, and abdominal crunches.

Tuesday: Add some hills. Add 5 minutes' worth of hill walking (or 5 flights of stairs) to weeks 3 and 4. This will help build thigh and gluteal strength and definition (not bulk). Stretch, or try for 20 minutes of yoga or flexibility work after walking. (Beginning: Just 10 minutes of flexibility work. Advanced: Up to 30 minutes of flexibility.)

Wednesday: Work your muscles. After walking, do 20 minutes of strength training. Create a set routine of 6 to 8 resistance exercises, but move through each quickly. Do an exercise for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, and move to the next one. This is a super-efficient combination strength and aerobic workout and a great calorie burner. (Beginning: Make it a 10-minute circuit. Advanced: Go for 30 minutes.)

Thursday: Target your speed. Its not enough to just pick up the pace on the fast intervals you have to really focus on faster steps. Shoot for at least 130 steps per minute during the speedy intervals in week 1; boost your goal by 5 steps per minute for every week after that. (Beginning: Start intervals at 120 steps/minute. Advanced: 145 steps/minute.) Finish by going through the stretch routine twice.

Friday: Rest. Take the day off, or switch a missed workout to today.

Saturday: Extend your workout. In weeks 2 and 3, increase the recommended walk by 10 minutes (or add 1,500 steps to your daily total); in week 4, boost it by 20 minutes or more (at least 3,000 steps). For the best conditioning, on the longest walk of the month take an uphill hikethe more climbing involved, the better! Do some strength moves during or after your walk.

Sunday: Think about getting quick. Spend 45 minutes playing a court or field sport. The quick starts, stops, and sideward and backward movements of tennis, soccer, volleyball, and Ultimate Frisbee all help build athletic coordination and fitness. Get regular partners who play often and hard. Bump it up to 60 minutes in weeks 3 and 4.

Discuss This Article