One of the key elements to building balanced fitness is doing diverse workouts and training
There are a lot of benefits to diversifying your physical activity routine. It is especially important to do more than just walking. Strength training is imperative for muscle and bone health and can help manage chronic disease. Combining walking with strength training can reduce and prevent injuries, slow down muscle loss, and make you fitter overall.
A great approach is to incorporate circuit training into your weekly routine, followed by walking on some days. This could be done upwards of 6 days a week, but it is best to start with 2–3 days a week if you have not been consistently active.
Here’s a sample schedule for the first few weeks:
Monday: Strength circuit A (upper body, lower body, & core: 23 rounds) & 10-min walk
Tuesday: Rest & stretching
Wednesday: Strength circuit B (upper body, lower body, & core: 23 rounds) & 10-min walk
Thursday: Rest & stretching
Friday: Strength circuit C (upper body, lower body, & core:23 rounds) & 10-min walk
Saturday: Other possible activity (e.g., yoga, biking, & swimming)
Complete 10 repetitions of 3 exercises, then repeat the sequence 2–3 times if you feel up to it. Make sure to vary your routine by picking 3 different exercises for each day. You should also increase walking by 5–10-minute increments over time and later increase the duration of the circuits to include more rounds. Another option is to mix the walking in with exercises — an example of this is 5 minutes of walking and a round of strength exercises, then repeat 3+ times. Choose a variety of upper body, lower body, and core exercises based on your comfort and fitness level. As you build consistency with your training and become stronger, you will feel more confident to try new exercises, and possibly additional rounds and days.
Here are a few examples of exercises you could incorporate into your routine.
Push-ups (can start with knees down)
Plank & side plank
Dumbbell or band bicep curls & triceps extensions
Dumbbell or band shoulder presses & bent-over rows
Lunges & side lunges
Fitbit Coach (which is now integrated within Fitbit premium) is great for this type of training. Choose from any of the smart programming customized to you (after taking the fitness test). Start with 10–20 minutes and then go right to walking 10–20 minutes. Increase the training sessions and/or walking duration slowly (e.g. 5-minute increments) after a couple weeks if you are ready.
Examples of 4-Week Plans: