The Best 7-Day Walking Plan to Boost Your Energy Levels, According to a Certified Trainer

Want to have more energy? All it takes is putting one foot in front of the other.

a photo of a woman walking through nature
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Have you been feeling as if you've been dragging lately? Many people can relate. In a 2019 study on middle-aged adults published in BMJ Open, 1 in 5 participants reported fatigue. Walking is a great way to boost your energy levels. Not only is it a low-impact physical activity that's easy on your joints, but walking can also help improve your mood. According to the National Institute on Aging, regularly hoofing it can increase energy levels and decrease fatigue in people of all ages.

So how much walking is enough to reap the benefits? And how can you fit it into your busy schedule? In this seven-day walking plan, we'll show you how to make walking a part of your daily routine and boost your energy levels in the process.

How Walking Benefits Your Energy Levels

It may seem counterintuitive, but walking can give you more energy. Moving your body increases blood flow, which circulates oxygen and nutrients to muscles and organs. Walking also helps stimulate the production of endorphins—natural mood boosters that bolster alertness and focus.

"Many people feel tired and sluggish, not because they don't have energy available, but because they haven't been active enough," says Rachel MacPherson, an ACE-certified personal trainer with Garage Gym Reviews. "Being sedentary is a primary contributing factor to chronic fatigue. Research shows that meeting physical activity guidelines improves energy and fatigue levels."

Plus, getting outside and moving your body can help you get a change of scenery and clear your mind, which can be especially helpful if you spend a lot of time indoors or sitting in front of a computer.

How Much to Walk for Better Energy Levels

So, how much walking do you need to do to start feeling more energized? The recommendation from the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity weekly exercise. That breaks down to roughly 30 minutes of walking daily, five days a week.

"Walking even once will help you see an immediate boost in your energy levels," says MacPherson. "Try walking daily for the best results, as you'll benefit most from consistent walking. However, if you walk every other day for about 20 to 30 minutes, you should feel much better than if you didn't walk at all. Do what you can and try building on your habits over time," she suggests.

Just a few minutes of walking each day can be beneficial. If you're new to exercise, start small and gradually build up. Try taking a 10-minute walk during your lunch break or after dinner, and work your way up to longer walks over time.

7-Day Walking Plan to Boost Your Energy Levels

Ready to give walking a try? MacPherson's seven-day walking plan is designed to help boost your energy levels. Feel free to use this plan as a guideline and adjust it to fit your schedule and fitness level. The key is getting moving and making walking a regular part of your routine.

Day 1

On the first day, it's essential to determine your baseline. Take a 10-minute brisk walk first thing in the morning before you start your day, and track your steps. This will help you gauge how much you need to increase your daily step count to achieve your energy goals.

Day 2

After determining your baseline, it's time to add more steps to your daily routine. Try adding 1,000 steps to your total from yesterday. You can add these steps anytime during the day, breaking them up if needed. The goal is to work toward building your fitness.

Day 3

Continuing to increase your daily steps, add another 1,000 steps to yesterday's total, aiming to complete 2,000 to 3,000 of your total steps outdoors. Walking outdoors is a great way to get fresh air and boost your mood. Plus, the change of scenery can make your walks more enjoyable.

Day 4

Add 1,000 more steps today, again aiming to get at least 3,000 of those steps outdoors. If it's a sunny day, you'll produce a higher level of endorphins, per 2019 research in Acta Pharmacologica Sinica. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, and dress appropriately for the weather.

Day 5

As you progress through the seven-day walking plan, add 500 more steps to the previous day's total. Try to get outdoors for 3,000 steps or more, and increase your pace. Walking faster increases your heart rate for more heart-healthy benefits.

Day 6

By now, you may feel more energized. Based on your fitness level, aim for 8,000 to 10,000 total steps. If you are a seasoned walker and need an additional challenge, consider adding some hills or inclines to boost your heart rate.

Day 7

Aim for a long walk in nature for the last day of your walking plan. Being active in green spaces has been shown to reduce stress and improve overall well-being, according to a 2021 review in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. In addition, you can set a leisurely pace and be present in nature for walking meditation to help you destress and prepare for the week ahead.

If the increase in steps over the course of the week feels too rapid to you, feel free to repeat the same step count a couple of days in a row or choose to increase your step count more gradually. When it comes to amping up exercise, listening to your body is key.

The Bottom Line

Walking is an excellent form of exercise to help boost your energy levels and mood. The recommended amount of walking to improve energy levels is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or about 30 minutes daily, five days a week. However, even a few minutes of walking each day can be beneficial. Slowly increasing the number of steps taken per day can help you safely develop a walking routine.

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