The Health Benefits of Walking For Exercise


We’re all looking for ways to improve our cardiovascular fitness, burn fat, build lean muscle mass, and generally provide a furnace for the calories we consume throughout the day. But as we get older and more experienced, we can become ever more averse to new forms of exercise. Fortunately, however, a fantastic form of exercise is available to one and all. It’s able to help you maintain a trim waistline, burn calories and even improve your mental health. Best of all, it is completely free to do, requires no expensive gear and can be done virtually anywhere. We’re talking, of course, about walking. You may not be aware of all the health benefits of walking for exercise.

There have been studies that suggest people who walk 10,000 steps daily experience health benefits. If you are someone who is just starting an exercise regimen, start with what is comfortable for YOU. It may be a good idea to start out with a smaller target number of steps then work your way up from there.

Many of us are a little unaware when it comes to the health benefits of walking, or perhaps don’t view it as “real” exercise because it’s so accessible. However, first of all, walking can burn anywhere between 90 and 200 calories per half hour. And that’s only the beginning. Walking also has many other benefits and helps to:

– Maintain a healthy weight
–  Improve your balance and coordination
– Strengthen bones
– Improve your mood
– Strengthen muscles

Walking helps you maintain a healthy weight

Moreover, walking won’t put the same pressure on your joints as running, and is a whole lot more pleasurable than most other forms of exercise. Let’s take a look at some additional benefits of walking:

Warm up, cool down and stretch before walking>Walking gets you on the path to heart health
Around 49% of Americans have at least one of the three risk factors of heart disease. As such, we owe it to ourselves to keep our tickers in tip top condition. While running and cycling may be go-to exercises for heart health, a brisk walk is also great cardiovascular exercise if you suffer from joint pain or never learned how to ride a bike. A brisk walk 3 or 4 times a week can cut your risk of heart attack.

> Walking is a great way to improve your mental health
There are many of us for whom health isn’t merely a matter of the corporeal. Our psychological health is incredibly important and 40 million Americans today suffer from anxiety and / or depression. Not all exercises are alike and some may not be the perfect exercise for those plagued by anxiety or who are likely to compare themselves to others. Walking, on the other hand has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of depression when done regularly. Plus, you’ll get all the health benefits of getting out in the sun.

> Walking helps you to read more books
We all wish we could read more, but getting some down time in which to read can be a struggle when you have a busy lifestyle. Most of us don’t get the opportunity until we turn in for the night and even then it can be a struggle to keep our eyes open. Instead, why not invest in some audio books and take them on a long, brisk walk with you? You’ll burn calories while burning through your reading list!

Did you know?
Walking can prevent or help manage health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

When you are walking for exercise, you should maintain good posture. Below are the techniques you should maintain the entire time you are walking:

– Your head should be up and looking forward and not looking down at the ground.
– Your stomach muscles should be slightly tightened.
–  The back should be straight and not arched forward or backward.
–  Your neck, shoulders and back should be relaxed and not stiff up around your ears.
– Swing your arms freely and slightly bent at the elbows.

Choose the right shoes for walkingGET PREPARED
Before starting a walking routine, there are certain things to remember to get prepared:

– Choose the right shoes
In an effort to take good care of your feet, choose a shoe with good arch support, thick flexible soles for cushion, and a firm heel.

– Warm up, cool down and stretch
You want to prevent any kind of injury that can occur, so treat your body with the same concern as you would with any other kind of exercise.

– Choose your course
If you are walking outside, avoid areas with cracked sidewalks and potholes. If you are walking in high traffic areas, be very careful. If you do find yourself in a situation where your walk results in injury caused by another’s negligence, an attorney at The Rybak Firm can help you pursue justice. If you run into inclement weather, consider walking in doors at a local mall.

This is a contributed affiliate post.

Walking is a great exercise that has many benefits you may not be aware of. While running and cycling are great exercises, walking is just as beneficial. Before beginning a walking program, do some research and purchase a good quality shoe to maintain the health of your feet. Walking is inexpensive and can be done just about anywhere – indoors and outdoors. So, get out and get moving!

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16 thoughts on “The Health Benefits of Walking For Exercise

  1. I was really unwell throughout April first with gastro and then with the flu. It took me the whole month to feel better. I have just started getting back into fitness and am aiming for 10,000 steps a day. I don’t often have the chance to go for a walk as my son is homeschooled, however, I am making sure to get up and walk around the house every 30-45 minutes to get the step count up. Do you think this is beneficial or should I make the time to go for a walk as well?

    1. Megan, thank you for stopping by. I am sorry to hear you were ill, but happy to hear you are feeling much better. Getting those steps in are important. However, getting up and moving is great as well. More is explained in my article, Get Up and Move Your Body. You will see the importance of just getting up and moving your body as well as the positive effects it has on you during the day. Thanks, once again, for stopping by and for the comment. Have a healthy day.

  2. I have been trying to walk more. While I was in college I actually took a walking class and I enjoyed it a lot. You offered some great tips on foot care when doing a walking routine. I have high arches so I think I need new and better shoes. Mine are starting to fall apart.

    1. Thank you for visiting my site, Brittaney. I appreciate it. That is awesome you took a walking class. I bet you did learn a lot of great information there. Yes, please invest a good pair of choose before you start your walking regimen. You definitely need to take care of your feet when walking for exercise. Please come back and let me know how you’re doing. Have a healthy week.

  3. Hi Yvette,

    I think your post is very helpful in pointing out that walking has great benefits with very low risk.

    As someone who deals in the back pain niche, I am a big fan of walking because it can give you the benefits of running without the damage to your joints.

    A foot pain sufferer once compared the noise he makes when he feels pain intensifying as that of lava about to overrun a village. Maybe he was exaggerating a bit, but I suspect not that much from all that I have studied about foot pain related to running. Also, a doctor compared running as a series of “crashes” when speaking about the type of pressure that can be put on your joints. Not to scare people about running as it has great benefits – if done correctly.

    1. Thabo, thank you stopping by and for the kind words and comments. The way your friend describes his running pain, that sounds very excrutiating. Yes, walking would definitely be an option in that instance. I am like you and a very big fan of walking and try to get in steps everyday. Once again, thank you for stopping by. Please come by, again, soon. Have a healthy upcoming week.

  4. Words of wisdom you provided. I can attest that walking is good for you. I’m not one to exercise regularly and my doctor told me I had osteopenia. I now have a rescue dog that likes walking in the woods. Our morning walk is usually an hour and at least several other shorter walks happen during the day. They aren’t brisk as I stand around waiting while she digs for mice, but a little exercise is better than none. My doctor says my bones have gotten stronger and I’m now on the plus side with no bone loss.

    I thought it would be great to listen to books while walking, but I have to keep my focus on her. I do however, dictate blog articles into my phone when we are out sometimes.

    1. Shelley, thank you so much for visiting my site and the great comments. That is wonderful that you have turned your health around! You are such an inspiration. I am sure you feel better and your doctor is happy with your results as well. Keep up the great work on being a healthy you and please come and visit again.

  5. Hey Yvette, I am a good example of someone who didn’t walk for quite some time. For just over 20 years I drove trucks over the road and as you know truck drivers do not walk very much and have a tendency to gain weight! In about 2000 I had, had enough of that and got a driving job local, in the state of Texas only. The job involved a lot more walking, moving trailers, more stopping and just more exercise all around. Just about killed me at first, but it wasn’t too long, I started feeling better, sleeping better, losing weight and eating a lot more healthier.
    Hate to think what kind of shape I would be in today, had I not done that! Talk soon!

    1. Wayne, thank you for stopping by and for the comments. Sharing your story is an inspiration. I am so happy to hear you were able to obtain a job that gives you the opportunity to get healthy. That is wonderful news to hear you are feeling and sleeping better, as well as losing weight and eating healthier. Keep up the great work. You are definitely a healthier you.

  6. Hi Yvette, excellent article. Between my day job and “night lighting” on our websites, I rarely move around. Yesterday I was visiting my mom, we were able to go for a walk. Great reminder to make walking more of a priority. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks for stopping by my site and for the comments, Tara. I am glad you enjoyed the article. That is great you and your mom had the chance to get in a walk. Hopefully, the both of you will be able to get more in together. It’s always nice to have a walking partner with you. Maybe it can be an ongoing activity for both of you to not just walk, but spend quality time together. Keep up the good work as you become a more healthy you.

  7. Great article Yvette. I love walking. You had me stumped for a bit when you said that walking helps you to read books, my mind went blank – howzat? LOL And then you dropped the bomb on me – dduuuuhhh – audiobooks. Great idea. Yes, you are so right, walking may not seem like much but it can make all the difference to your mental (sanity) and physical health.
    Thnx for sharing.

    1. Michelle, thank you so much for visiting and commenting. Ahh, yes! Audiobooks. They are great and with technology and being able to have access right on our phones nowadays, it’s an easy fix to get more reading time in. I am glad you enjoyed the article and love to walk. Keep up the great work and I hope you are able to get more reading in as you do. Have a healthy day, Michelle, and please come back to visit.

  8. Thanks for this post. I am very health conscious and I love walking. Your walking technique are particularly interesting to me. I even practiced them as I read.
    Here in Scotland, the weather can get very cold, at such times we walk with our gloved hands in our pockets. Would this affect my walking exercise?

    1. Thank you, Juliet, for visiting. I am so glad you enjoyed this article and that you love walking. Wow, you started practicing the walking techniques already! I am so proud of you for that. I hope you continue to have a chance to do that. As far as keeping your hands in your pockets because of the cold, you are still getting the steps in which is good, but it would be even more of a calorie burn if you could use your arms to swing at the same time. I would like to suggest doing indoor walking when the weather is exceptionally cold. Try the Walk At Home DVD series I have reviewed on my site. I have done this series many times in inclement weather and love it. You still get a great walking work out. Try it and let me know what you think. Once again, thank you for stopping by and for staying healthy a part of your life.

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