Advice on walking for fitness


So my main motivation is to get physically fit. I have a lot of weight to lose but feel that my lack of fitness is a huge obstacle. It was hearing on the news that a 20 minute walk a day could increase life expectancy - I thought, I can do that. I have managed it about 5 days a week on average since the beginning of February and even on the days I don't I still do something.

My problem is that I became so unfit that my mobility was becoming affected, the idea of a 10 minute walk, or even walking up the stairs was a problem.

I have always been overweight but up until about 12 years ago I was reasonably fit. Slowly I have become less fit and less bothered. I don't consider myself to be lazy as I work very hard but I have a sedentary job. Unfortunately the stress of the job makes it hard for me to do anything but stare into space when I get home. That is changing though.

On Sunday and today I have managed 2 km walks without stopping - but I pretty much maxed myself out. I am planning to walk 5.5 km during the first week of May when I have a week off work. I will be able to stop and rest but wondering if I am being overly optimistic.

I would love to hear from others who have been walking to get fit and how long it has taken them to reach a good level - say 5km.

I think I may have to take money for a taxi with me:)


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17 Replies

  • Every step you are taking will help. There's a community here called "Strength and Flex", I just joined in today. It's 45 min 3 days a week and I think it may be good for you too, xx

  • Thanks HRHGaby. I've checked out that site and it looks really good. I am away soon but will take a proper look when I get back. x

  • Hey sueper, I have been walking on the days I don't do my cycling. I have had some knee surgery recently so this has been quite a challenge and I get far more pain when walking than cycling. I have been increasing the time just a little each time I go out ie, 10mins,then 12, I can do about half an hour now (though I have to put my leg up with some frozen peas afterwards...) Doesn't sound like much but it seems to be working. You'll find that the distance increases as well, just make sure you keep at a constant steady pace. Hope this helps 🌺

  • Thanks Anna, I am a little disappointed as progress seems to be slow but I am determined to get to the 5k stage. I have an exercise bike but just can't seem to get comfortable on it:(

  • You will get to 5k! It may just take you a little time, frustrating though isn't it!

    I'm getting used to the bike, a bit saddle sore but apparently that gets better too... I'm using the couch to 5k app, going fast on the running bits and moderate pace on the walking bits. It's pretty good, they're half an hour workouts and I'm defo worn out by the end so it must be doing something! 🌸

  • any exercise is really good for your health. 20 minutes walking a day is a fantastic and you should be congratulated. But If you are walking 20 minutes a day, you could go a bit further if you fancy running and are ready for a challenge.

    go along to the NHS - couch to 5k forum and see what you think. it's amazing. It took me about 10 weeks to go from unfit and obese to fit enough to run 5k 3 times a week.

  • Thanks rmnsuk - running is a bit of a stretch at the mo as I am too big and the strain will be too much on my joints it is something I might consider in time.

  • Hi Sueper, just look at how much you have achieved since Feb. It is incredible that you are contemplating walking 5K when you had trouble even managing the stairs a couple of months back! I am like you, I cannot run as I have knee problems and I have had major surgery 6 weeks ago, but ihave started beginner's aerobics (following the nhs fitness studio videos online) and have also started c25k on my strider at home following Anna999's advice. Just started today, so let's see how it goes...managed 30 mins aerobics and only 15 mins on the strider but it's early days yet. Good luck for your 5K.

  • Thanks 1308. It sounds like you are making good progress too. I am doing a bit of resistance exercise too and hoping I will enjoy being generally active the more I do. I just want to be normal. I want to be able to walk as far and as fast as an average person - it's not much but it is important.

  • Go for it! 2km is loads better than nowt so give yourself a medal for that. I like the idea of taking taxi money with you. See how far you can go before you need to use it. or even manage not to spend it. You may find that surprisingly easy. And do rest when you need to - as often as you need to. Are you near buses? I sometimes catch one and walk back. If they're reasonably frequent they're a good back up too. Either way it's a good incentive. I like your style. Keep it up :)

  • Thanks fenbadger - I am on a pretty good bus route so that is a definite option. The big walk I am planning to do is out in the sticks but I feel I need to push myself or I will be stuck at the 20 minutes mark forever. I am going to try and increase the distance by 1/2 km each week and so how I get on:) Thanks for the encouragement.

  • May I suggest walking poles? They're not just for expedition leaders. If you use your arms too, you get more power, and still burn calories. It increases range and decreases fatigue. I wouldn't be without my thumbsticks :)

    don't know if you will be able to see this as its on another community.


  • Thanks fenbadger - I will check them out:)

  • I bought a little Fitbit Zip and that's a brilliant motivator for getting you out walking, aiming at achieving your steps and miles each day. You can change the settings so maybe aim at two miles and work up each week as you get fitter.

    If the weather isn't good then there are some superb 'walking' videos on YouTube by Leslie Sansone which start at one mile and work up to five miles. Basically you're just stepping in front of the TV or computer but it's exercise you wouldn't have got otherwise! (

  • Thanks gingernut - I have heard about those YouTube videos so thanks for the link I will definitely take a look. I've just bought a pedometer which does miles (as I am still imperial:)). Have been using one with my DS but I need to be able to understand distance more than steps.

  • All pedometers can be set to miles or kilometers - I prefer miles so use those with my fitbit and aim at five miles a day. After all, most come from the States and they only work in imperial measurements.

    You'll like Leslie's workouts - she's good fun.

  • Just a quick update on my walking progress. I managed 4 km today, lots of hills too so very pleased. I am feeling confident for my 5.5 km target walk which is pretty much flat only - 1. 5 weeks to go! So happy today as I recovered faster and was much less out of breath and sweaty today after doing 4 km than I was a couple of months ago doing less than 1 km.

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