A walking plan may be a good place to start if you would like to start getting regular physical activity.

Plan your walks

Follow the plan below to gradually increase your frequency, intensity and time of walking.

Program stage Week Frequency (days per week) Intensity: Exertion level RPE* (10 pt) Duration (min)
Initial stage 1 2 Light 2 10
2 2 Light 2 10-15
3 2-3 Moderate 3 15
4 3 Moderate 3 15
Improvement 5-7 3-4 Moderate-Somewhat hard 3-4 15-20
8-10 4 Moderate-Somewhat hard 3-4 20
11-13 4 Somewhat hard 4 20-25
14-16 4 Somewhat hard 4-5 25
17-20 4 Somewhat hard 4-5 25-30
21-24 4-5 Somewhat hard-hard 4-5 25-30
Maintenance 25+ 3-5+ Moderate-hard 3-5 30+

*RPE = Rating of Perceived Exertion. See below for further information.

Table adapted from Warburton, et al. 2006.

Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

Pick the number matching the word or phrase that best reflects your total amount of physical stress, effort and fatigue while doing an exercise. This number identifies your exercise intensity. Record this number on your exercise log after each session.

0 Rest Light intensity: Easy walking, golf, gardening, dusting, laundry, stretching, yoga, curling, bowling
1 Very light
2 Light
3 Moderate Moderate intensity: Brisk walking, climbing stairs, mowing the lawn, swimming, dancing
4 Somewhat hard
5 Hard (breathing deeply)
7 Very hard (out of breath) Vigorous** intensity: Running, fast cycling, hockey, basketball, gym workouts
10 Maximal

**Vigorous physical activity should only be started with the approval of your doctor or with the guidance of a qualified exercise professional.

Ways to get in more walking

  • Walk to do your errands. If it is too far, park two to three blocks away and walk from there.
  • Push-mow your own lawn.
  • Walk to get the mail/newspaper.
  • Take a dog for a walk.
  • Walk around the mall or recreation facility.
  • Wear a pedometer, and gradually increase the steps you take each day.

If walking is difficult for you, your diabetes care provider can help you come up with some different physical activity options to benefit your diabetes.

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