Walking is a gentle and low impact form of physical activity. It is a natural and simple way to be active.

Walking is an ideal activity that is safe for almost all individuals regardless of age or ability. It is also an economic way to get active, have fun and feel good about yourself.

Getting Started


Walking tips:

The Public Health Agency of Canada provides additional tips and information on the benefits of walking.

Walk when you can, and work your way up by:

Be safe


Here are a few stretches that are good for walkers. Add a few more exercises that stretch other areas of your body, such as shoulders and arms. Hold the stretches at a point of easy tension for about 30 seconds. Stretching helps your muscles stay flexible. These stretches should be done before and after your walk. Be sure to stretch both legs.

Calf stretch: Stand about three feet from a wall. Lean forward and put your hands against the wall at shoulder height (don’t bend at the waist). Put one foot forward (both knees should be slightly bent). Keeping both heels on the ground, lean your body slowly toward the wall. If you are doing the stretch correctly, you should feel the stretch in the calf of the back leg. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then change legs and repeat.

Standing hamstring: Stretch In a standing position, place one leg forward with toes pointed up towards the ceiling. Your supporting leg should be slightly bent. Slowly bend at the hips while keeping your back straight until you feel the stretch. You should feel the stretch behind the outstretched leg. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then change legs and repeat.

Thigh stretch (quadriceps): With one hand against a wall, or holding the back of a chair, hold your foot with your free hand and bring it up towards your buttocks (your supporting leg should be slightly bent at the knee and your hips slightly forward). Be sure to keep the knee of your stretched leg pointing down to the floor alongside your supporting leg. You should feel the stretch on the front of your thigh. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then change legs and repeat. Note: If you need assistance for this stretch, you can use a towel, strap or belt to help lift up the leg.

Active transportation

Active transportation (Public Health Agency of Canada) is defined as a human powered way of transportation, such as walking, cycling or skateboarding. Everybody travels every day in order to live, learn, work and play. It is important to reduce the dependency on motorized vehicle use and make smart choices about transportation. We all have a part to play to live longer healthier lives. Walking and cycling are key contributors to improve health through increased physical activity.

Many health benefits are obtained through active transportation:

Tips to begin:

Starting a walking club

If you are searching for a way to incorporate physical activity into your life, but need extra motivation, a walking club may be a great option for you! A walking group is a great way to begin walking in the company of other interested individuals. You can join an existing walking club or program in your community, or you can start your own. Starting your own walking club is a simple process and may provide huge rewards. Below are tips on how to begin a walking club.

There are many advantages to a walking group, such as:

Where do you begin?

In order to recruit members for your walking group, you should:

When your group is established, hold a meeting to discuss the logistics of the walking group, such as:

Once the walking group is established and in need of additional motivation, look for ways to enhance enthusiasm. You may:

Always make sure members have available water before, during and after the walk. It is also important to warm up and cool down with stretches and slower paced walking. Members should wear comfortable shoes and appropriate clothing. Members should consult with their health care provider before beginning a new physical activity routine.

Walking with a pedometer

Walking with a pedometer can help you keep track of your progress in demonstrating the steps you take.

What is a pedometer?

A pedometer is a small device that counts the number of steps you take. The pedometer is a great tool that can help motivate you to keep you active. You can buy a pedometer at a department store or sporting goods stores locally. A basic pedometer will range from $10 to $30.

How to use the pedometer:

The 20 step test

This test checks the accuracy of your pedometer.

  1. Clip your pedometer to the waistband of your pants
  2. Reset the counter to zero
  3. Walk 20 steps
  4. Check the number of steps you’ve recorded (should read between 19 and 21 steps)
  5. If the steps are incorrect, reposition the pedometer and repeat the test

Daily step goals

How many steps should you aim for? This can change depending on many factors such as ability to walk, experience level, etc. Below is a guideline that can help you make the most out of walking.

Less than 5000 steps per day

5000-7499 steps per day

7500-9999 steps per day

More than 10 000 steps per day

More than 12 500 steps per day

Please note that these guidelines and step goals may not necessarily be appropriate for every individual.

Set your own realistic goals by gradually increasing the number of steps you take each day. You may wear your pedometer all day, every day.

Tips for reaching your daily steps goal:

Urban poling/Nordic walking

Are you looking for new ways to boost your walking? Urban poling may be right for you! Urban poling, also known as Nordic walking is a new, trending activity in Canada. It involves walking with special walking poles and offers a bit of a twist to traditional walking.

Urban poling is a user friendly sport, similar to cross country skiing, that combines aerobic training with the benefits of strength building.

Urban poling offers a full body workout and offers many benefits:


Step 1: You need to make sure you are holding the correct pole in the correct hand; they are marked on the poles with an “L” for left and an “R” for right.

Step 2: Stand tall and hold your poles vertically. Your elbows should be slightly bent. Start walking and drag the poles behind you, making sure you maintain the body’s natural walking pattern. It is important that you maintain this walking pattern, which means your right arm swings forward when your left foot steps forward and vice versa. This assures that the poles will land in the correct spot in order to achieve the urban poling technique. Your arms should swing forward like the pendulum of a clock.

Step 3: Propel your arms forward following the natural swinging of your arms to push yourself forward. Imagine as though you were cross country skiing. Similarly, you are trying to push yourself forward with the poles. Do not try to grip the handles too tightly.

This item was last modified on June 2, 2022