Get Started

To evaluate your cardiovascular fitness as well as determine what Walking 4 Wellness style is best for you, take a moment to complete this simple test.

Goal: Walk one mile as fast as you can without jogging or running.

What you’ll need

  • A timer (smart phone or stop watch) to monitor your time.
  • A good pair of walking shoes.
  • A designated one-mile walking area.


  • Find a local high school track, walking trail or similar area where you can safely walk for a one-mile distance.
  • Before you begin, be sure to warm up.
  • Once you have warmed up, begin your test by starting your time.
  • Walk as fast as you possibly can for that designated one-mile distance.
  • Once you cover the one-mile distance, stop the timer and record your score.

To help you get started with your Walking 4 Wellness plan, you’ll want to take a moment to understand the four general types of walking you can consider.

Strolling: Casual WalkingRolling: Fast or Power WalkingBurning: Interval and Terrain WalkingToning: Interval Walking Combined with Resistance Training
Beginners or just getting back to walking or exercise
Desire to improve productivity, creativity, resilience and overall fitness
Desire to maximize fat burning and weight loss
Interested in slowing the aging process and looking and feeling years younger
Desire to improve their overall stamina, physical, emotional and spiritual health
Interested in decreasing stress, anxiety and appetite
Interested in shorter, more challenging workouts
Desire to shape, strengthen and define upper and lower body muscles
Enjoy tranquil, serene and meditative walks
Enjoy moderate to challenging exercise
Desire to boost energy, mood and reduce belly fat
Would like to maximize metabolism and fat burning ability throughout the day
Looking for a way to improve mood, decrease stress, relax and restore energy
Interested in increasing energy, burning more calories and improving physical fitness
Interested in toning, strengthening and defining muscles
Want to get fit and stay fit
Prefer low intensity walking at a casual pace around 2.0-3.5 MPH
Desire to enhance muscle and bone strength
Prefer varying walking/running speed for moderate to fast, ranging intensities from 4.5-6.5 MPH
Prefer utilizing fitness tools, resistance equipment or body weight exercises along with their walking
Enjoy walking multiple times a day without perspiring too much
Prefer exercising at moderate to higher intensities, walking at a pace of 3.5-4.5 MPH
Enjoy using different speeds, terrains or elevations to impact intensity
Vary walking/running speeds ranging from 4.5-6.5 MPH along with resistance training
Prefer slower, possibly longer walks
Completes the One-mile Walk Test in 13-15 minutes
Completed the one mile walk test in under 13 minutes
Interested in recovering from sore muscle or de-stressing
Completed the one-mile walk test in 16 minutes or more


Countless research studies show that walking has a significant impact on not only our bodies but also our emotional, intellectual and mental well-being. Here are benefits from walking that research says about regular walking and stress:

  • Reduces stress and improves ability to cope                                           
  • Releases feel-good brain chemicals like endorphins
  • Decreases depression
  • Alleviates symptoms of premenstrual syndrome in women
  • Enhances relaxation
  • Decreases tension and worry
  • Boosts brain power and creates new brain cells
  • Improves cognitive functioning
  • Enhances memory
  • Keeps brain young, decreases symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Reduces, treats and prevents anxiety and panic attacks
  • Helps manage anger and feelings of hostility
  • Boosts your mood: increases joy, happiness and sense of well-being

According to business analysts, productivity specialists and numerous studies, individuals who exercise are way ahead of the pack when it comes to competition. Multiple health, business and financial experts agree that workers who perform regular exercise such as walking perform better in terms of both quantity and quality of production at their jobs. Here are some things that research says about regular walking and your career:

  • Improves thinking
  • Enhances your learning, time management and judgement
  • Boosts your creativity
  • Increases stamina, energy, and endurance
  • Elevates self-esteem, self-image, and confidence
  • Increases productivity
  • Reduces absenteeism and presenteeism
  • Boosts morale
  • Increases initiative and leadership
  • Raises assertiveness and enthusiasm for life
  • Raises career advancement opportunities and earning potential
  • Boosts your human capital, health, attitude, motivation, skills, education

For more information on walking resources, check out the following links!

For updated information regarding Art walks & Artful Yoga check out University Museums

For updated information regarding Ames events check out City of Ames calendar:

For updated information regarding Des Moines community events check out:

For more information on walking contact ISU WellBeing for a Wellness Council of America "Walking 4 Wellness" booklet!

Content provided by: Wellness Council of America: "Walking4 Wellness: Four simple steps to achieve your best body and life."