What are the Different Types of Walking Programs?

Sheri Cyprus

Different walking programs can be used to meet individual needs. For example, people who are inactive and just beginning a walking program would proceed at a different pace than someone doing the exercise for weight loss. People at a high level of fitness may want to add a speed walking routine to their regular workout. During rainy, snowy or chilly weather, some walkers may choose indoor walking programs.

Several state parks, such as those in the Ozark and Catskills mountain ranges, contain scenic walking trails.
Several state parks, such as those in the Ozark and Catskills mountain ranges, contain scenic walking trails.

Indoor programs for walkers include community mall walking clubs. These are informal groups often organized by a town resident who lives near a particular mall. Notices about these indoor walking programs can be found on mall bulletin boards. Typically, these programs are aimed at people who are in beginner levels of walking workouts rather than advanced. As an alternative to an indoor walking club, exercisers can simply march in place or walk in a circle around a room in their home.

People who want to take up running but aren't quite ready may alternate between walking and jogging.
People who want to take up running but aren't quite ready may alternate between walking and jogging.

Outdoor walking clubs may be community-based. Park trails are common places for these groups to walk; this option is popular with walkers who would like to explore their local parks and hiking areas but don't want to risk their safety by doing this on their own. Walking programs can be shared by neighbors or friends as well as community groups. For example, several mothers of infants who all live on the same street or in the same neighborhood may form an informal walking program by getting together on a regular basis to walk while pushing their baby strollers.

People who want to take up running, but aren't quite ready fitness-wise, may have a workout program in which they run for a few minutes, then switch to walking. This activity is sometimes called wogging. The term power walking describes a face-paced walk that's accompanied by wide, swinging arm movements. It's considered cardiopulmonary exercise, meaning it can affect the heart and lungs. Cardiopulmonary walking programs can strengthen the body's circulatory system.

Beginning walking for fitness programs should always start with minimal exertion and distance before gradually increasing both. Outdoor walkers must be sure to think of the return trip to ensure they have enough energy left to make it home. Supportive, cushioning footwear should be worn in all types of walking programs. Exercisers who combine walking with running should be sure to wear shoes made to absorb the impact on the body. People who are walking for weight loss should work up to a brisk pace as well as move the arms to increase their potential to burn fat and calories.

Mall walking clubs are typically for beginning walkers.
Mall walking clubs are typically for beginning walkers.

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Discussion Comments


I think walking groups are a great way to stay in shape. I do a better job of sticking to a work-out program when I am exercising with someone else. My grandmother walks at the mall each morning with a large group of senior citizens who participate in a walking program, and she never misses because she enjoys seeing her friends and chatting as they walk.


I recently learned that walking a mile can be just as healthy for you as running a mile. I was always under the impression that running was much better for you than walking, so this was a surprise to me. You can burn about the same amount of calories walking as running. The most important thing is to continue to increase the amount of time you walk until you reach the distance you want to be at. Slow and steady wins the race.


My sister got to the point that her health was really bad. She wasn't working, so she was spending a lot of time at home watching TV, eating and not doing any kind of exercise to keep her body active. She put on a lot of weight and she was having trouble breathing, and she didn't have enough energy to do much of anything for more than a couple of minutes then she had to sit down and rest.

About this time, she had a stray dog come around their house. She started to feed the dog and then she took him in. She lives in a neighborhood so she had to keep the dog in the house and on a leash when he was outside. This meant she had to walk the dog so he could get exercise and go to the bathroom. While she couldn't seem to make herself walk for her own health, she was all but forced to walk with the dog.

Within a couple of months, she had lost weight and she was able to walk and do things without immediately giving out of breath. I honestly think the dog and the walking saved her life. Walking can be a really good way to stay in shape.

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