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Walking Speed for the Absolute Beginner Walker

How to Walk - How Fast to Walk


Updated June 02, 2014

Three women walking and jogging on boardwalk
Ryan McVay / Photodisc / Getty Images

Walkers should aim for a brisk walking pace to achieve a moderate-intensity walking workout. That is associated with the best health benefits of walking. That is usually associated with walking a mile in 20 minutes or less, at a target heart rate of 50-60% of your maximum heart rate.
Target Heart Rate Calculator

What brisk walking feels like:

  • may be breathing noticeably
  • able to carry on a full conversation while walking
  • not out of breath

If your speed is slower and heart rate lower at first, don't worry. Your first goal is to be able to walk 30-60 minutes a day without injury. We will add speed and intensity later. Be consistent in how often and how far you walk before you try to walk faster.

The target heart rate to achieve for health walking is 50 - 60% of your maximum heart rate. Again, if this is difficult at first, go slower and build your time before working on speed.

If at any time during the walk you are experiencing difficulty, slow down further and return to your starting point.
Be aware of warning symptoms of problems such as heart attack or stroke and seek medical assistance if needed.

It is recommended that you increase your exercise time/intensity by no more than 10% per week.

Let's Get Walking

Subscribe to our free 4-week daily email newsletter course to get you walking. Each day you receive a walking assignment following the Absolute Beginners Walking Schedule, plus tips on walking technique.
Let's Get Walking 4-Week Daily Newsletter

Next Page > Warning Signs and Normal Effects of Exercise

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