The 10 Best Benefits of Walking

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Is walking good for you?

The benefits of walking are numerous, and they apply to people of all ages and fitness levels. In addition, walking may help to prevent specific illnesses and even prolong your life.

You don’t need to spend any money or make special arrangements in order to walk regularly. It can be easily included into your daily routine. All that’s required is a good pair of walking shoes.

Discover the 10 best benefits of walking

1. Burns calories

Walking helps to burn calories, which can help with weight loss or weight maintenance.

The actual number of calories burned depends on various factors, such as:

  • Walking speed
  • Distance covered
  • Terrain (inclines burn more calories than flat surfaces)
  • Your weight

To get an accurate calculation of the number of calories you burn while walking, you can use a calorie calculator.

2. Improves heart function

By walking for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, you can decrease your likelihood of developing coronary heart disease by around 19%. Moreover, increasing the duration or distance of your daily walks may result in even greater risk reduction.

3. Lowers blood sugar

Going for a brief walk following a meal may help in reducing your blood sugar levels.

According to a study, walking for 15 minutes after each meal is more effective in improving blood sugar levels than a 45-minute walk taken at another time of day.

However, further research is required to validate these results.

You may want to include a post-meal walk into your daily routine, as it can be a convenient way to add physical activity to your day.

4. Reduces joint pain

Walking can help in safeguarding your joints, particularly your hips and knees, by supporting the muscles that surround and protect them. This is because walking can help to lubricate and strengthen those muscles.

Walking has been found to have potential benefits for individuals who have arthritis, including pain reduction. Moreover, engaging in a walking routine of 5 to 6 miles (8 – 10Km) per week may assist in preventing the development of arthritis.

5. Boosts immune system

Walking could lower the likelihood of catching a cold or the flu.

During flu season, a study followed 1,000 adults and found that those who walked for 30 to 45 minutes at a moderate pace had fewer sick days and lower instances of upper respiratory tract infections, with a 43 percent reduction in sick days overall.

In comparison to sedentary adults in the study, those who walked at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes a day had reduced symptoms when they did get sick.

To reap the benefits of walking, aim to do it daily. If the weather is cold, you can consider walking on a treadmill or inside a shopping center.

6. Increases energy levels

You may feel more energized by taking a walk instead of drinking coffee when you’re tired.

Walking enhances oxygen circulation throughout the body and increases the production of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, hormones that contribute to boosting energy levels.

7. Improves mood

Walking has been shown in studies to improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative moods. It can also increase self-esteem and decrease symptoms of social withdrawal.

Try to get 30 minutes of brisk walking or other moderate intensity exercise at least three days per week to reap these benefits. If you prefer, you can break it up into three 10-minute walks.

8. Increases lifespan

You may increase your lifespan by walking at a faster pace. According to a study, walking at an average pace rather than a slow pace can decrease the risk of death by 20 percent.

To lower the risk of death, walking at an average pace is better than walking slowly, as it can reduce the risk by 20 percent. However, walking at a brisk or fast pace, which is at least 4 miles per hour, can reduce the risk by 24 percent. The study investigated the relationship between walking at a faster pace and factors such as overall causes of death, cardiovascular disease, and death from cancer.

9. Strengthen leg muscles

Walking can help to enhance the leg muscles’ strength. To increase the strength further, consider walking on hilly terrains or on a treadmill with an incline or take routes that have stairs.

To further tone and strengthen your leg muscles, you can also incorporate other cross-training activities such as cycling or jogging. Resistance exercises like squats, lunges, and leg curls can also be helpful.

10. Boosts creative thinking

Walking may improve cognitive function and boost your creative thinking. This can happen because walking can help in clearing your head from daily stress.

One study conducted four experiments to compare people’s ability to think creatively while walking or sitting. The researchers found that participants performed better while walking, especially when walking outdoors.

The study’s findings suggest that walking can enhance creative thinking and physical activity simultaneously, by facilitating a free flow of ideas.

When facing a problem at work, consider suggesting a walking meeting with your coworkers.

Tips for walking safely

To ensure that you are safe while walking, make sure you follow these tips:

  • Stick to areas specifically meant for walking and pedestrians, and if possible, choose well-lit areas.
  • If walking during low light hours, such as early morning or evening, wear a reflective vest or carry a light to make yourself visible to cars.
  • Choose sturdy shoes that provide good support to your arch and heel.
  • Opt for loose, comfortable clothing to allow free movement.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before and after your walk.
  • Protect your skin by applying sunscreen, even on cloudy days, to prevent sunburn.

How to get started

You can start walking with just a good pair of walking shoes. Find a route near your home or a picturesque location such as a beach or trail to walk.

You can increase your motivation by asking someone (a friend or a family member) to walk with you and keep you on track. Below you an find more options to incorporate walking into your daily routine. Here are some suggestions:

  • If you are committing, get off the bus or train one stop early and walk the remaining distance to work or wherever you are going.
  • Choose to park your car farther from your office or your destination than usual to increase walking distance.
  • Instead of driving, consider walking to complete your daily errands and get exercise at the same time.


Walking can meet the daily exercise recommendations for individuals at any age and fitness level.

You can monitor your daily steps by using a pedometer or a fitness tracker. You can find some options to buy here.

Choose a walking route and a step goal that is suitable for your age and physical ability.

Before starting a new walking routine, warm up and cool down to prevent injury. Additionally, it’s important to consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. Now you are ready to enjoy the benefits of walking.

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