Manage Your Medications
Walk your way to fitness
Your local hospital, vascular center, or cardiac rehab center may have a special walking program for people with PAD. Your doctor may be able to provide more information about these programs in your area. But the great thing is, you can start a program on your own too. Here’s one format of a walking program but be sure to talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.
Your walking program
- Start at a pace that you can walk for 5-10 minutes before you start to feel claudication. It should feel unpleasant, but not painful. Then keep going until the pain makes you feel like you need to stop.
- Stop and rest for 3-5 minutes or until the pain goes away. You can remain standing or sit down to rest.
- Start back up walking at a pace that you can walk for 5-10 minutes before feeling pain. This may be a slightly slower pace than you started with. Then rest again.
- You’ll continue this cycle of starting and stopping until you’ve been walking for 30-35 minutes. This doesn’t include your rest time.
- You’ll want to walk at least 3 days a week, gradually building up the time that you walk until you reach 60 minutes. After that, you can start increasing your walking pace.
Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your program:
- Find a good place to walk. Depending on the weather, you can choose somewhere outside like sidewalks, paths, or a track or somewhere inside like a fitness center or shopping mall. In the beginning, you may want to consider walking on a treadmill so you don’t run the risk of walking too far and not being able to walk back.
- Dress appropriately. You’ll want to wear comfortable, sturdy shoes that you won’t slip in. You also want to make sure to dress in clothing that you can move easily in and is appropriate for the weather if you’re outside.
- Keep track. Pedometers, wearable fitness trackers, and fitness apps on your phone can all help you keep track of how far you went, how many steps you took, and your pace. Keeping track can help show the progress you make.
- Make it enjoyable. Invite a friend to join, listen to music or an audiobook, spend time in nature. Find ways to make your walking sessions something you look forward to.