Walking is one of the easiest exercises you can do to lose (or maintain) weight and improve your overall health. It poses a minimal risk of injury, you can do it anywhere, and you just need a pair of good walking shoes to get started. Here are 25 reasons why a daily walking program might be the perfect exercise routine.
1. It gets you moving. Sitting for long periods of time increases your likelihood of illness and even early death. Luckily, walking can counteract the negative effects of sitting, and even just 10 minutes a day can get your blood flowing for positive health benefits.
2. It’s a great way to lose weight. Walking for around 30 minutes a day can burn up to 200 calories and help you lose weight. If you up the pace and include hills and varied terrain, the calorie burn is even greater.
3. It’s easy on your joints. Walking is low-impact and can be done by beginners with minimal risk of injury.
4. It helps you stay healthy as you age. Dementia, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and breast cancer are just a few of the diseases a daily walk can help ward off.
5. It improves your mood. Walking can help decrease depression, reduce anxiety and boost your mood.
6. It can foster creativity. Walking can help clear your mind and generate new ideas, potentially helping you perform better at work and get that sought-after promotion.
7. It’s an easy exercise to progress. Besides increasing duration, you can make walking more difficult by speeding up the pace, adding light hand weights or trying high-intensity intervals.
8. There isn’t much of a learning curve. While other sports or activities might take some time to learn, you already know the basics of walking and have been doing it your entire life. Sure, you can always perfect your form, but there isn’t much you need to know or do to get started.
9. It’s easy to fit into your schedule. Whether it’s around your block, a local multi-use path or a few laps inside the mall, walking is one of the most convenient forms of exercise.
10. It’s really cheap. While memberships for yoga, spin classes and the gym can be expensive, all you need for walking is a good pair of shoes.
11. You’ll get your required dose of vitamin D. Essential for gut and bone health, vitamin D also promotes a strong immune system. A daily 30-minute walk outdoors can help you soak up much-needed vitamin D.
12. It’s easy to do with kids. If you’ve got a couple of young ones in the house, then you know how difficult it can be to find the time to exercise. Walking can help you spend more time together and get outside in nature for a stress-relieving activity. A dedicated walking stroller and a few snacks will make the task much easier and more enjoyable.
13. It’s a good choice if you’re overweight or have dealt with injuries in the past. Since it’s low-impact, walking can be more accessible for those who have a history of back, hip, knee or ankle pain or are overweight.
14. It builds self-confidence. Improving your health through walking and losing weight can help improve your self-confidence. This study shows how just 12 minutes of walking a day can yield a bigger self-confidence boost compared to spending the time sitting.
15. It improves aerobic fitness. Runners can attest to how hard it is to keep your heart rate in the correct training zone. Walking, on the other hand, makes keeping your heart rate in a low-to-moderate intensity zone (70–80% of your max heart rate) pretty easy — which is perfect for improving your aerobic fitness.
16. It’s easy to increase your step count. If you are short on time, consider including more walking in your daily routine. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the back of the parking lot or walk part of the way to work if you take public transportation. All of these steps add up.
17. It’s a good way to socialize. Rather than sitting for a glass of wine, consider catching up with a friend or family member on a walk. You’ll get feel-good endorphins from the walk and health benefits from social connection.
18. You can connect with nature. Walking can be a great way to get in touch with nature and enjoy the outdoors. More greenery has even been linked to lower anxiety levels and a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes. Try to head to a trail or walking path away from motor vehicle traffic at least once per week. You’ll be surprised by the meditative effects it can have.
19. It’s accessible for those with asthma. Some activities aren’t good if you have exercise-induced asthma. Fortunately, walking isn’t one of them. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says walking won’t irritate your airways like some other activities might.
20. It can be a sleep aid. If you’re having trouble falling and staying asleep at night, going for a daily walk in the morning could help reset your circadian rhythm.
21. It supports brain health. Walking increases blood flow to the brain, which lessens your risk of cognitive illnesses like Alzheimer’s and supports overall brain health.
22. It aids the immune system. Some research shows brisk walking can increase white blood cell count, which is important in fighting off infections.
23. It improves balance. As you age, injuries due to falling become more dangerous and harder to recover from. A daily walk can help to keep your glutes, hips, quadriceps and hamstrings strong and improve balance, making a fall less likely.
24. It can help you eat less sweets. Craving sweets during the day or at night before bed can easily hamper weight loss. The good news is, walking can help to curb those cravings so you stay on track with your diet and reach your goals.
25. It’s a great way to explore. In today’s fast-paced world, walking is a wonderful way to take time for yourself and appreciate your surroundings. Explore a new park, try urban hiking or map out a different route in your neighborhood to change things up and keep walking exciting.
To become more active, try setting a simple goal to increase (and track) your daily steps. Go to “Plans” in the MyFitnessPal app and choose a 28-day step plan to learn tips to boost your activity.