Top 10 Reasons You Should Start Walking

Why should you start walking? Walking for 30 to 60 minutes each day is one of the best things you can do for your body, mind, and spirit. Here are great reasons to lace up your sneakers and get started.


Walkers Live Longer

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The Honolulu Heart Study of 8000 men found that walking just two miles a day cut the risk of death almost in half. The walkers' risk of death was especially lower from cancer. Other studies (that also included women) have had similar findings. For example, a 2020 study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that taking more steps each day – even if you walk at a regular pace – is linked with living longer.

The bottom line? If you keep walking, you improve your chances of a longer and healthier life.


Walking Helps Prevent Weight Gain

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Adding steps at a quicker pace may support long-term weight loss and maintenance in some circumstances. A study published in 2018 suggests that walking 10,000 steps per day, with approximately 3,500 of these steps performed at a moderate-to-vigorous intensity and in bouts of at least 10 continuous minutes, is associated with enhanced 18-month weight loss in adults.


You Can Walk off Weight

Walking on Treadmill
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Exercise such as walking is an important part of any weight loss program. You must still watch how much you eat in order to lose weight. But walking helps you build healthy lean muscle, lose inches of fat, and pump up your metabolism. Of long-term successful weight losers, almost all maintain a program of walking or ​other exercises.


Walking Reduces Risk of Cancer

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Study after study has shown that walking and exercise reduces your risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, and 11 other forms of cancer. Walking is also good for those undergoing cancer treatment, improving their chances of recovery and survival.


Walking Reduces Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

Heart Rate on Smartwatch

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Heart disease and stroke are among the top killers of both men and women. You can cut your risk of both in half by walking for 30-60 minutes a day. Get your blood moving!


Walking Reduces Diabetes Risk

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Get out and walk for 30 minutes a day as your minimum daily requirement for health and to prevent Type 2 diabetes. A study by the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, discovered that walking for 30 minutes a day cut diabetes risks for overweight as well as non-overweight men and women. Walking also helps maintain blood sugar balance for those with diabetes.


Walking Boosts Your Brain Power

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A study of people over 60 funded by the National Council on Aging, published in the July 29, 1999, issue of Nature, found that walking 45 minutes a day at 16-minute mile pace increased the thinking skills of those over 60. The participants started at 15 minutes of walking and built up their time and speed. The result was that the same people were mentally sharper after taking up this walking program.

In addition, a study published in a 2017 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease suggested that 12 weeks of moderate-intensity walking increased brain function.


Walking Improves Mood and Relieves Stress

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Walking and other exercise leads to the release of the body's natural happy drugs—endorphins. Most people notice an improvement in mood. A study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine showed that university students who walked and did other easy to moderate exercise regularly had lower stress levels than couch potatoes or those who exercised strenuously. And a 2012 research review found evidence that walking has a statistically significant, large effect on symptoms of depression.


Walking Can Prevent Erectile Dysfunction

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What better reason for men to take a brisk 2-mile walk each day—reduced risk of impotence from mid-life onward. A 2018 review of studies recommends 40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity four times per week. Weekly exercise totaling 160 minutes done for six months may decrease erectile problems. And a 2014 study found that walking, specifically, improves erectile dysfunction in men who have had a heart attack.


It's Easy to Get Started

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All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes and to get yourself out the door or onto the treadmill. You can reap the benefits of walking from doing several shorter walks or one longer walk during the day. To get you on the right foot, these tutorials show you how to walk with good posture and how to build a walking schedule to meet your needs.

6 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Saint-Maurice PF, Troiano RP, Bassett DR, et al. Association of daily step count and step intensity with mortality among US adultsJAMA. 2020;323(12):1151–1160. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.1382

  2. Creasy SA, Lang W, Tate DF, Davis KK, Jakicic JM. Pattern of daily steps is associated with weight loss: Secondary analysis from the step-Up randomized trial. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018;26(6):977-984. doi:10.1002/oby.22171

  3. Physical Activity Linked to Reduced Cancer Risk. News In Health. National Institutes of Health. July 2016

  4. Chirles TJ, Reiter K, Weiss LR, Alfini AJ, Nielson KA, Smith JC. Exercise training and functional connectivity changes in mild cognitive impairment and healthy elders. J Alzheimers Dis. 2017;57(3):845-856. doi:10.3233/JAD-161151

  5. Robertson R, Robertson A, Jepson R, Maxwell M. Walking for depression or depressive symptoms: A systematic review and meta-analysisMental Health and Physical Activity. 2012;5(1):66-75 doi:10.1016/j.mhpa.2012.03.002

  6. Begot I, Peixoto TC, Gonzaga LR, Bolzan DW, Papa V, Carvalho AC, Arena R, Gomes WJ, Guizilini S. A home-based walking program improves erectile dysfunction in men with an acute myocardial infarction. Am J Cardiol. 2015 Mar 1;115(5):571-5. doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2014.12.007

Additional Reading

By Wendy Bumgardner
Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer covering walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more than 1,000 walking events.