8 reasons to go for a walk
Adults are supposed to rack up 150 minutes of physical activity each week — or a little more than 20 minutes a day. Thankfully, walking can count toward that quota.
“Walking can raise your heart rate, contributing to your recommended daily activity,” says MacPherson.
And that’s just the beginning. Here are 13 of the health benefits of walking every day:
- It burns plenty of calories
Your actual calorie burn will depend on how fast and how far you walk (and where), along with your weight. Walking at a brisk pace burns about 150 calories in 30 minutes (for a 175-pound person).
- It requires less gear than running
Running is a higher-impact activity, requiring special shoes (not to mention a sports bra for many people), workout clothes, etc. Walking requires a pair of supportive shoes — but not much more.
If you choose, you could turn your commute home into exercise, or squeeze in a short walk on your lunch or coffee break.
- It may help lower blood sugar
Even short walks can yield big benefits. One small study showed that walking after each meal, for only 15 minutes, helped improve blood sugar levels — and it did so more than a single 45-minute walk! That’s great news for busy folks.
- It’s great for your mood
Walking really is a good way to clear your head — and studies prove it.
Walking, like other cardiovascular activities, can help ease anxiety, depression and overall bad moods. Even better? When your mental state makes going to the gym or getting dressed for yoga feel like too much effort, walking may feel more approachable.
- It strengthens your ticker
Walking for 30 minutes or more each day is good for your heart, too. In fact, it’s so good that a 2009 study recommended walking be “prescribed” as a way to prevent coronary heart disease. It reduced risks by almost 20 percent!
- It can ease joint pain
Walking not only helps keep your joints lubricated and healthy — it also helps you strengthen the surrounding muscles. If your knees don’t love running, then walking can be a win-win!
- It’ll strengthen your legs
Want stronger, more toned legs? Start by walking — then pick up the pace or find a hilly route to boost the strength-building benefits.
- It’s good for immune health
Walking every day for less than an hour may help you fight off upper respiratory infections (or recover faster if you do catch one). A study of 1,002 adults found that those who walked 30 to 45 minutes daily took fewer sick days — and were sick less often, too.