Pick Up the Pace

Clip on a pedometer and you'll walk more often and longer.
Pick Up the Pace
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Fitness expert Debbie Rocker created this 40-minute workout to help you incorporate a pedometer into your walking routine.


While doing the workout, pay attention to your rate of perceived exertion (RPE). On the RPE scale, 1 is a very easy pace and 10 is as intense as possible.


1 to 5 minutes - Walk at an easy pace initially. Slowly (minute by minute) over the next 5 minutes, increase your walking speed until you are breathing deeply enough to reflect a steady and powerful pace. (RPE goes from 1 to 5 in 5 minutes)

6 to 10 minutes - Walk at a stronger pace. Pull in your abs tightly (keeping your core engaged throughout), and keep your shoulders down as you swing your arms to intensify the effort. Bring your RPE up to 7 by increasing your walking speed, and walk at that intensity for the next 5 minutes. Your breathing should be deep, powerful, and strenuous enough so that you couldn't comfortably hold a conversation if you were walking with a friend.

11 to 13 minutes - Pick up your pace. Use your arms to propel you forward, push off the ball of your foot, and power through the next 3 minutes at an RPE of 8.

14 to 15 minutes - Slow down and recover. Reduce your heart rate by slowing your pace significantly, walking and breathing with ease (RPE 3 to 4) for the next 2 minutes. Check your pedometer and mentally note the number of steps you've walked so far.

16 to 23 minutes - Pick up your pace again. You should feel renewed and ready to go as you increase the pace, bringing your RPE up to 6 or 7 for the next 8 minutes. This is endurance training, and it conditions you to walk for longer periods of time at higher intensities. Hang in there!

24 to 26 minutes - Increase the intensity again by really pushing off your back foot. Secure your posture by using your core to steady yourself, and walk tall while swinging your arms to help move your legs even faster. Stick to an RPE of 8 for the next 3 minutes.

27 to 28 minutes - Compassionately, but assertively, push to a new level of intensity. In these moments, recognize your power, productivity, and ability to persevere. Aim for an RPE of 9.

29 to 30 minutes - Recover. You deserve it. But remember, this is not a break. Keep your posture and focus intact as you reduce your pace. Feel your heart rate dropping and your breathing getting easier and easier. Keep your RPE at 4 for 2 minutes.

31 to 35 minutes - You are almost at the finish line: Stay strong and steady. You are training like a true athlete and you deserve to go to the finish line like a champion. So focus on walking tall and strong and at a powerful clip, taking it home with an RPE between 6 and 8.

36 to 40 minutes - This is your final recovery, your victory walk home, your congratulatory lap; you've earned it. Reduce your RPE to 2, until you're walking and breathing easily and feeling relaxed. Check your pedometer for your final reading and make a mental note of it until you get home and can write down your numbers. The next time you do this workout, compare your notes and see how much you have improved. Great job! Keep up the good work, and stay on the road!


Pedometer Tips

  2. Follow the instructions on your pedometer for clipping it to your body and adjusting the settings.
  3. Wear your pedometer when you work out to measure how far you walked in a pre-determined time, and then compare that number the next time you do the same workout. It's a great way to improve your exercise efficiency and performance.
  4. Wear a pedometer throughout your day and notice how much mileage you get in. Then think of ways to increase that mileage. For example, by: walking up stairs instead of taking elevators, taking the dog on an extra walk, walking to lunch or dinner, taking an evening stroll after dinner, or taking a midday walk break, (even just around the office hallways or around the block) whenever you feel stressed or tired.