A 30-minute walking workout for a fun, intense, efficient walk!

Burn calories, improve your fitness and hit your daily recommended walking goals with this 30-minute walking workout. Most experts recommend 30-minutes of walking daily as the minimum goal for general health and fitness. If you get creative, you can find 30 minutes in your day – whether it’s before work in the morning or during a lunch break. Having a structured walking workout that gets your heart pumping is a great way to maximize that active 30 minutes.

There are plenty of reasons to take a 30-minute walk ever day. Starting a regular 30-minute walking workout is a wonderful basis for a beginner walking for weight loss routine. It’s long enough to really work up a sweat, but not such a long distance that it’s hard for most to manage. Try this 30-minute walking workout today, plus read on to see how you can increase or decrease the intensity to meet your needs.

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For more walking workouts, as well as full-body strength workouts that you can do anywhere, check out Pacer’s workout plans!

Benefits of a Structured Walking Workout

Sporty woman posing after workout
Brocreative / Shutterstock

With a structured walking workout, you’ll have a built-in warm-up and cool-down period. According to the National Heart Association, warming up gets blood and oxygen flowing to your muscles and lets your heart ramp up into more intense activity. This helps to reduce your risk of injury, as well as gets your body ready for more intense exercise. A cool-down period at the end of your workout lets your heart rate gradually return to normal, preventing you from feeling light-headed.

Planning intervals of varying intensity into your workout can maximize your health benefits, according to a Japanese study on different walking techniques.

Having a plan for your walking workout can also prevent boredom. You can look forward to the different phases of your half-hour walk rather than just watching the clock. It also helps maximize the time you have available.

Try This 30-minute Walking Workout

Happy walkers in the park
Brocreative / Shutterstock

Notes on stretching

Doing static stretching (deep, intense stretching) while not properly warmed up can actually cause injuries! You’re better off starting to warm up by getting active and moving around, then doing some light stretching during or directly after your workout if you feel you need to. Most experts recommend dynamic stretching, which involves getting your limbs and joints moving rather than bending and pulling very hard. Here are some stretching ideas! Again, you’re better off warming up and getting into walking working and stretching later, but if you do want to stretch earlier make sure to warm up FIRST before stretching!

Here’s the routine!

  • 0-5: Warmup
  • 5-10: Moderate walking
  • 10-15: Brisk walking
  • 15-20: Moderate walking (with change of terrain)
  • 20-25: Brisk walking
  • 25-30: Cooldown

1. Minutes 0-5: Slow warm-up:

Start walking much more slowly than your normal pace. If you feel stiff, swing your arms gently and raise your legs on each step to warm up your whole body. Your goal is to get your body moving and blood pumping before you start picking up the pace.

2. Minutes 5-10: Walking at a moderate pace

Increase your pace to one that’s comfortable but not your top walking speed. You’ll be walking faster in a moment, so make sure you leave yourself some room to increase your speed.

3. Minutes 10-15: Brisk/fast walking:

Walk at a pace that is challenging to maintain, but not uncomfortable. You’re not looking to do a sprint, or risk injury. Try to keep a brisk pace that you can still maintain for 5 minutes.

4. Minutes 15-20: Moderate pace (with change of terrain if possible)

Return to a moderate pace, and see if you can mix something up with this portion of your walk. Try walking in hilly terrain if your walking area allows it, or add some inclines if you’re walking on a treadmill. If you’re outside and you want to add some intensity, try planning your route so you can get some incline walking during this segment.

5. Minutes 20-25: Brisk/fast walking:

This is the last fast segment. You can do it! Make sure you’re maintaining good posture, as it’s easy to lose your proper walking posture when you start to get tired. Try to walk as briskly as possible during this segment, since we’ll be cooling down after you finish.

6. Minutes 25-30: 5-minute cooldown:

Slow down gradually from your fastest speed to a moderate pace, and finally to a slow cool-down pace. If you time it correctly, you can arrive back home or back to the office after this segment!

Post-workout stretch:

The walking site recommends stretching after a walking workout instead of before. Choose some light stretches and gently ease into them. Stretch without bouncing, holding each stretch for around 30 seconds, and breathing through each stretch.

Follow the same stretching guidelines detailed above. Post-workout stretching can be even more beneficial than stretching before your walk, according to some research. If you do want to do some static stretching for flexibility, now is the time to do it. Any stretching you can get in is great though! If you have a bit more time, you can try Pacer’s 10-minute “Daily Stretch” workout in our workout section.

Keep it fresh and change it up!

Couple on a nature hike in spring
Daxiao Productions / Shutterstock

Even with this variety of changes in pace and walking rhythm, a 30-minute walking workout can get monotonous after a while. Losing interest is a surefire way to fall off of your fitness path. Try spicing up your workout with these tips:

  • Walk in different locations. Explore new parks, shopping malls, and street routes to keep things interesting. Get creative!
  • Try different terrain. Pick one day a week to go on a walk with more hills, or walk on a trail rather than a flat road.
  • Make new playlists. Music can be a fantastic motivator while walking. Create playlists that align with the intervals in your workout.
  • Find a podcast: Find 30-minute podcasts that will hold your interest while you walk.
  • Walk with friends. A group walk is a great way to socialize while getting your workout in, and you can help motivate each other to keep going.

Personal Workout Adjustments

Man tired after walking for fitness
Rido / Shutterstock

You can easily adjust the length and intensity of the workout based on your personal fitness level and experience. You can cut the workout in half, or omit one of the brisk walking sections for an easier walk. To get more intense, increase the speed or even add jogging for the fast sections.

You should increase your workout intensity if:

  • You don’t feel your heart rate increasing during your fast segments
  • You don’t feel at all tired at the end of your 30-minute walking workout

You should decrease intensity if:

  • You’re extremely tired or out of breath during your walk
  • You feel uncomfortable with your heart rate during fast segments
  • You have any kind of injury or strain

As with any exercise plan, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if you have any injuries, chronic conditions, or just have concerns about your workout. Make sure to fuel your walking workout with healthy food choices throughout the day, and stay hydrated, especially when walking outside in the heat. Wear supportive, well-fitting shoes and comfortable clothing.

Man and woman drinking water while walking
oneinchpunch / Shutterstock

Remember, walking (and Pacer) is always going to be there when you’re ready. If you start your 30-minute walking workout and realize that you don’t have it that day, go at whatever pace you feel you can maintain. Some steps are better than no steps, and a few steps are much better than pushing yourself too hard and feeling very sore or injured.

Final thoughts:

With a short walking workout each day, you can be on your way to weight loss, a healthier heart, and better overall fitness. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, walking offers a low-impact activity that doesn’t require fancy equipment or expensive gear to start enjoying. Make a plan for your 30-minute walking workout and get moving!

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