Walking programme

Walking is increasingly considered as the cheapest, safest and easiest form of exercise. It has also proven itself to be as good for you as any other form of exercise.

What you need

  • Comfortable walking shoes and cotton socks.
  • Your clothing should be suitable for winter and summer conditions.
  • The fabric should preferably be cotton, which absorbs any perspiration, is cool during summer and warm during winter.

Dos and don'ts

  • It is advisable to have a walking companion who can encourage you and talk to you while walking.
  • Walk at a moderate pace, i.e. the pace you have walked with the physiotherapist.
  • Breathe rhythmically.
  • Relax your arms and shoulders.
  • Don't swing or pump your arms more than necessary.
  • Avoid walking during the hottest or coldest part of the day.
  • Don't walk directly into a strong wind for the entire duration of your walk.

How fast?

We call this the 'chat test': while walking at a fast and comfortable pace, you must be able to hold a conversation. You must be able to string a sentence together; otherwise you are walking too fast, too far, or up too steep an incline.

How much?

  • Start off with three, five or ten minute walks per day - depending on your fitness level.
  • Remember exercise should be regular to be beneficial (at least three times per week).
  • Thereafter increase your walking time every week.
  • A good maintenance level would be to walk for about 20 to 40 minutes three to four times per week.

"Your walking programme for a healthier heart" by Parke-Davis

  • Before proceeding with your walking programme please notify your doctor if you are concerned about your health or if you are experiencing any.
  • Ensure that you have had something to eat or drink before you start your walk.
  • For those on respiratory or cardiac medication, remember that you have to take your medication before your walk.
  • If you do not feel well, do not walk the full distance until you feel better. Then increase your distance at the same pace as when you started your programme.
  • Take this time to talk to your spouse, partner, friend or child.
  • If you have any further queries about exercise or other activities, please ask your doctor or your Hospital's client service advisor.
Light Walking Programme
Distance to be walked twice daily


Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Day 1 60 m and back 220 m and back 400 m and back 630 m and back
Day 2 90 m and back 270 m and back 450 m and back 630 m and back
Day 3 130 m and back 270 m and back 450 m and back 720 m and back
Day 4 130 m and back 320 m and back 540 m and back 720 m and back
Day 5 180 m and back 320 m and back 540 m and back 800 m and back
Day 6 180 m and back 360 m and back 540 m and back 800 m and back
Day 7 220 m and back 360 m and back Rest or repeat day 6 Rest or repeat day 6

After week 4, continue to walk at least 500m three times a week.


Gradual Progress Programme
Distance to be walked twice daily


Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Day 1 200 m and back 400 m and back 1000 m and back
Day 2 200 m and back 450 m and back 1100 m and back
Day 3 250 m and back 500 m and back 1200 m and back
Day 4 250 m and back 500 m and back 1200 m and back
Day 5 300 m and back 600 m and back 1300 m and back
Day 6 350 m and back 600 m and back 1300 m and back
Day 7 350 m and back Rest or repeat day 6 1300 m and back

Try walking 2,5 kilometres four times a week from now on.


Rapid Progress Programme
Distance to be walked twice daily


Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Day 1 400 m and back 750 m and back 1500 m and back
Day 2 450 m and back 900 m and back 1500 m and back
Day 3 550 m and back 900 m and back 2500 m and back
Day 4 550 m and back 1200 m and back 2500 m and back
Day 5 650 m and back 1200 m and back 2500 m and back
Day 6 650 m and back 1400 m and back 2500 m and back
Day 7 750m and back 1400 m and back 2500 m and back

If you can cover 5 kilometres comfortably within one hour, you are making good progress.