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Last time, I explained the five steps of fitness to you and promised that this article would be an example of a cardio workout demonstrating intensity, duration, and frequency.

The Walking Way:
You haven’t exercised much and may be 15 pounds or more overweight.  Because you have a busy family life, you decided to begin walking.  It’s a great general exercise that doesn’t cost a lot of money.  Because it’s weight bearing, you are fighting osteoporosis.

After you’ve gotten your doctor’s OK, pick up a good pair of walking shoes and let’s get started.

Trial Day:  This is the day you use as your starting point.  All activity for the first month is going to be based on today.  

Grab a bottle of water and a watch and start walking.  Let’s assume you are walking around your neighborhood.  Walk at a comfortable pace-not a leisurely stroll but not pushing as hard as you can- for ten minutes. Note exactly where you are. Oh, look!  It’s that pretty Cape Cod in pale yellow with green trim!  

Stop to admire the house (or garden or dog) and check your pulse.  Are you in your intensity zone?  Remember we discussed that the last time).  If your heart rate is lower than the target, walk on a couple more houses.  If your heart rate is a bit too high, take note of that too.

Then turn around and go home.

Your trip to that particular house is your base.

For one week, you will walk to that particular house, aiming to do so in 10 minutes.  When you get to that house, pause for a second to check your pulse to make sure you are in your target heart rate zone.  Then walk home keeping the intensity up.  Pledge to walk 5 days a week.

Weeks Two, Three, Four: Increasing Duration, Maintain Frequency.

For week of the three weeks, you will keep the intensity at the same level, but walk past your “base house” 2 minutes further.  Check your target rate at least once on the walk to make sure you‘re in “the zone.”  

At the end of month one, you are walking at your target heart rate at least 5 times a week for 30 minutes.

Month Two:

You’ve spent a month working at the same intensity level and increasing your duration.  For month two, we are maintaining duration but increasing the intensity!

Continue walking out from your house for 15 minutes and checking your heart rate a couple times along the way. Vary the pace of your walk, though, to get some higher intensity work in.  Walk as fast as you can for 2-3 houses then come back to your normal walking pace.  Do this 5-6 times on each walk.  

You should notice that you‘re extending the distance of your walks while maintaining the time you spend walking.  By now your clothing should be fitting a bit looser, your breathing should be deeper, and your spirit lifted.  

Please note: I am not a professional, though I try to point to videos and other resources created by professions. If you feel pain or discomfort in performing ythis, please consult your physician before continuing with an exercise program.

Better Every Year is the goal of writer Debra Roby. She has been published at [Link Removed]

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