Walking can offer numerous health benefits to people of all ages and fitness levels. It may also help prevent certain diseases and even prolong your life.
Walking is free to do and easy to fit into your daily routine. All you need to start walking is a sturdy pair of walking shoes.
Read on to learn about some of the benefits of walking.
Walking can help you burn calories. Burning calories can help you maintain or lose weight.
Your actual calorie burn will depend on several factors, including:
- walking speed
- distance covered
- terrain (you’ll burn more calories walking uphill than you’ll burn on a flat surface)
- your weight
Walking at least 30 minutesTrusted Source a day, five days a week can reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by about 19 percentTrusted Source. And your risk may reduce even more when you increase the duration or distance you walk per day.
Taking a short walk after eating may help lower your blood sugar.
A small study found that taking a 15-minute walk three times a day (after breakfast, lunch, and dinner) improved blood sugar levels more than taking a 45-minute walk at another point during the day.
More research is needed to confirm these findings, though.
Consider making a post-meal walk a regular part of your routine. It can also help you fit exercise in throughout the day.
Walking can help protect the joints, including your knees and hips. That’s because it helps lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support the joints.
Walking may also provide benefits for people living with arthritis, such as reducing pain. And walking 5 to 6 miles a week may also help prevent arthritis.
Walking may reduce your risk for developing a cold or the flu.
One study tracked 1,000 adults during flu season. Those who walked at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes a day had 43 percent fewer sick days and fewer upper respiratory tract infections overall.
Their symptoms were also lessened if they did get sick. That was compared to adults in the study who were sedentary.
Try to get in a daily walk to experience these benefits. If you live in a cold climate, you can try to walk on a treadmill or around an indoor mall.
Going for a walk when you’re tired may be a more effective energy boost than grabbing a cup of coffee.
Walking increases oxygen flow through the body. It can also increase levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Those are the hormones that help elevate energy levels.
Walking can help your mental health. StudiesTrusted Source show it can help reduce anxiety, depression, and a negative mood. It can also boost self-esteem and reduce symptoms of social withdrawal.
To experience these benefits, aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking or other moderate intensity exercise three days a week. You can also break it up into three 10-minute walks.