1. Burn calories
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
You can determine your actual calorie burn through a calorie calculator.
Walking at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week can reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by about 19 percent Trusted 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.
4. And it can help alleviate joint pain.
Contrary to what you might think, pounding pavement can help improve your range of motion and mobility because walking increases blood flow to tense areas and helps strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints. In fact, research shows that walking for at least 10 minutes a day—or about an hour every week—can stave off disability and arthritis pain in older adults. An April 2019 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine followed 1,564 adults older than 49 with lower-body joint pain. Participants were asked to walk for an hour each week. Those who didn’t meet that goal reported that they were walking too slowly and had issues performing their morning routine, while participants who stuck with their walking routine had better mobility.
5. Walking more can boost your immunity.
It turns out that putting one foot in front of the other could help reduce your risk for disease and promote longevity. Research from Arthritis Research & Therapy suggests that high-intensity interval walk training can help improve immune function in older adults with rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory disease that affects the joints. A recent study from Chronic Respiratory Disease also shows that walking may help patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) reduce their morbidity and mortality risk. Patients with COPD tend to be overweight or obese because they’re unable to exercise for longer periods of time and may find it hard to breathe during intense movements. But walking can help improve symptoms and lower their risk for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, among other things.
6. It can even help you live longer!
Ever wonder how people from Blue Zones are able to live to 100? Their secret to a longer and healthier life involves walking and getting outside. A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that adults between the ages of 70 and 90 who left the house and were physically active lived longer than those who didn’t. Staying active also helps you stay connected to loved ones and friends who can provide emotional support, which is especially important as you age.
7. And last but not least, you’ll sleep better at night.
If you work out regularly, you know that you’ll sleep better at night. That’s because sleep naturally boosts the effects of melatonin, the sleep hormone. A 2019 study from Sleep found that postmenopausal women who do light to moderate intensity physical activity snooze better at night than those who are sedentary. Walking also helps reduce pain and stress, which can cause sleep disturbances.