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The 20-Minute Moderate Walk

Welcome to Day 1 of the SilverSneakers Million Pound Challenge! The path to better health and a longer life starts here.

The average adult sits six to eight hours per day, according to the American Heart Association. And adults 60 and older tend to sit about nine hours per day. This increases your risk of heart disease and leads to poor posture, stiff hips, and unhealthy weight gain.

In fact, more than 70 percent of seniors are overweight, 35 percent are obese, and those numbers are expected to double by 2050.

The Million Pound Challenge is the antidote to a sedentary life. The fitness portion begins with this 20-minute moderate walk. That may not sound like much, but just a few minutes of walking a day really adds up.

woman on treadmill

“Studies have shown that a 15-minute walk after a meal lowers your risk of diabetes,” says Michele Staten, SilverSneakers fitness expert and author of Walk Off Weight. “And walking can be just as effective as medication for treating some types of depression.”

The more you walk, the bigger the rewards. Walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can increase lifespan by an average of 3.5 years, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine. For people who are obese, the benefit is even greater: 4.2 years.

And let’s not forget about the weight loss benefits. A 150-pound person burns about 100 calories by walking at a moderate pace for 30 minutes. If you do that every day for a year, that’s about 36,500 calories—or 10 pounds!

Remember: Safety first. If you’re walking outside and listening to our guided audio walk, keep the volume low or use only one earbud. If you’re on a treadmill at the gym, don’t forget to use the safety clip. If you start to feel nauseous or dizzy at any point, ease up or stop. And always drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercising.

Below is a preview of today’s walk that you can listen to in the player above or download at the link below. Use the step rate ranges in steps per minute (spm) and descriptions below to monitor your pace and intensity.

Warmup

Time: 0:00–3:00
Step Rate: 110–115 spm

Walk at a comfortable speed, letting your arms swing freely at your sides. Keep your head up, looking about 10 to 20 feet in front of you.

Moderate Walk

Time: 3:00–18:00
Step Rate: 120–125 spm

Walk faster—like you have to be somewhere. You’re exerting some effort and breathing a little harder, but you should be able to carry on a conversation. If you can sing, you’re going too slow. If you can’t speak in complete sentences, you’re going too fast.

Cooldown

Time: 18:00–20:00
Step Rate: 110–115 spm

Slow down to a leisurely stroll. A cooldown brings your body out of exercise more gently than if you stop abruptly, which may leave you feeling lightheaded or dizzy. Take some nice deep breaths, and notice how much better your body feels. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Note: The exercises in this workout may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. Please consult your physician before beginning a physical activity program to make sure it’s safe for you.

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