Rear view of people in winter coats walking across Brooklyn Bridge.

Daily walking has more health benefits than sporadic heavy exercising. It not only helps you feel good, it will help you look good as well. Exercise does not have to be harsh and difficult. A simple brisk walk each day can greatly improve your health.

Here are 50 amazing health benefits, according to science.

1. Walking Can Trim Your Waistline

If you are beginning to notice a midriff bulge, a regular daily brisk walk can help get rid of it. With a steady regular brisk walking schedule you will have flat abs in no time.

The important thing to remember is your technique for walking should be correct. Hold your head up, looking straight ahead, not at the ground.

Keep your neck, shoulders, and back relaxed. Walking with stiffness will be very tiring and leave you sore afterward.

Swing your arms naturally, with a slightly bent elbow. Tighten your stomach muscles just a bit. Breathe deeply as you walk, and enjoy yourself.

2. Daily Walking Can Improve Your Heart Health

Walking daily has been proven to decrease the chances of a person developing heart disease.

A study of 229 postmenopausal women had one group walk one mile a day and the other group to do what they normally do every day. After 10 years, the study showed that the group that walked on a regular basis, had 82 percent lower risk of heart disease.

Some people use electronic devices that count their steps each day. With a goal of 10,000 steps per day, you will have a positive impact on your heart as well.

When possible, take the stairs rather than an elevator. Walking is a good activity for a healthy heart.

3. Reduce Arthritis Pain

If you walk for 30 to 60 minutes every day, you will discover arthritis pain relief naturally. Walking helps reduce inflammation and stiffness in your joints.

When you start, go at a slower pace and gradually build up to walking faster and longer. You will feel great.

4. Improve Mental Attitude

Daily walking has shown to be very helpful for lifting a person’s mental attitude. It can give you a few minutes to clear the cobwebs in your head, through breathing in fresh air and connecting with the environment.

5. Reduce Excess Weight

One of the most obvious benefits of daily walking is that you will be able to gradually reduce excess weight that you have been carrying around.

If you walk at a good clip, and for at least 30 to 45 minutes each day, you will begin to notice that your clothes are a bit looser. Keep it up and you may need a new wardrobe.

6. Manage High Blood Pressure

It has been reported that walking daily can naturally lower blood pressure. Many people claim they don’t have time to do a 30 or 45 minute walk each day.

Good news! New studies show that several 10-minute brisk walks can be as helpful as one longer walk.

Walk in the morning for 10 minutes. Take a 10-minute stroll at lunchtime and then again after work.

7. Help Manage Type-2 Diabetes

It is claimed that exercise is almost as important as diet in controlling type-2 diabetes.

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise you can pursue. It is easy, free, and low impact.

You will get more than one benefit from walking to control your diabetes. It's also very healthy and refreshing.

When the weather permits, walk outside. When it is not possible to do that, walk inside a mall or use a treadmill.

8. Improve Your Balance and Coordination

Staying active helps with balance and coordination. You need to use your muscles to keep them working well. Walking is a great way to keep your muscles working, especially those in your legs and arms.

9. Strengthen Your Bones

Osteoblasts are the cells in your bones that build new bone. They respond well to added stress. That means if you have not been walking and you start, your bones will get stronger because you are adding stress.

Walking is the best way to do this. If you are already walking, you need to add something to your walk. Maybe a few more minutes would do the trick.

10. Reduce Size of Your Buttocks

Obviously, doing any exercise that uses the muscles in your behind will cause them to tighten up a bit and get your derriere in better shape. Eventually you may need some new walking pants.

11. Reduce Body Fat

Walking will help reduce the overall amount of body fat you are carrying around.

Many people don’t think much about body fat and are more concerned with weight.

Body fat is something to consider for multiple reasons as well. Walking daily will definitely reduce the amount of body fat you have and increase your muscles.

12. Increase Your Lifespan

Studies show that walking daily will extend your life as well as make you feel better. There are so many benefits to walking that it can’t help but extend your life and improve it as well. You will be able to move more freely for a lot longer.

13.Reduce Stress

Mental stress is a problem for most busy people these days.

There are so many things to think about and deal with, that sometimes you feel like you are running from one thing to another all-day long.

Research shows that a brisk 20- to 30-minute walk every day can reduce mental stress. It is said to have the same effect as a mild tranquilizer.

14.Good for Your Brain

Exercise helps the brain protect memory and the ability to think clearly. A study done at the University of British Columbia found that regular aerobic exercise boosts the size of the hippocampus.

This is the part of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. Brisk walking for 45 minutes is considered aerobic exercise.

It has the same benefits as working out with gym equipment. This is a great way to keep dementia at bay.

The parts of the brain that control thinking and memory are larger in people who exercise versus those who don’t.

If you have not been exercising at all, starting a regular walking program can help increase your brain size, so it’s never too late to start.

15. It is a Low Impact form of Exercise

If you have not been active for a while, walking is a great way to get started. It is a low-impact exercise. You will not be pounding your body on concrete or jerking and jarring your body in any way. Start out slowly and build up the pace at which you are walking. It is as good as an aerobics class.

16. It Boosts the Immune System

Daily walking can help boost your immune system. Recent studies show that if you exercise regularly you can reduce the number of colds you have each year. Doctors report that regular exercise can support your immune system by strengthening the cells that attack bad bacteria in your body. To get this benefit, the walking needs to be done every day.

17. It Helps Prevent Falls for Older People

Daily walking strengthens a person’s ability to move smoothly. For older people this can prevent falling, which can lead to further health problems. As people age, the ability to move smoothly and easily decreases, so movement and activity is essential to maintain stability and flow.

Many older people become very sedentary and this can cause the body's musculature to atrophy. Then when they do try to walk and move, they are more prone to falls, which can break bones and lead to even worse problems.

18. It Gives You Time to Think

Walking gets you outside and gives you time to think. You can mute your cell phone and get away from TVs, computers, and other distractions. You have time to think through the activities of the day, issues you needed solutions for, and more.

Many people take a walk just to get away from everything so they can think and chill out. When you are walking, your mind can get quiet, so answers to problems have a chance to come into view.

19. It Allows You Time to Meditate

If you like to mediate, walking is a good time to do it. You can put meditation tapes in your iPod and meditate while you walk. By doing this, you can knock out two great practices at the same time.

20. It is in Your Body’s Makeup to Walk

Human beings are built to walk. It is almost a necessity. Without it, the body almost shuts down. Movement and mobility is built in the human body. We have joints to allow us to move freely. We have muscles to support us. Not using these parts of the body will cause them to stop working all together.

21.Your Creative Juices Start to Flow

When you walk daily, your creativity increases. It not only gets your body moving, it wakes your brain up. The old saying that you should “sleep on it” before making a major decision, may not be the best advice.

Taking a walk may produce better results. Walking opens the flow of ideas, therefore increasing creative thinking.

Walking and other types of mild exercise stimulate neural connectivity and plasticity in the hippocampus in the brain.

Philosophers and other writers have found that there is an intuitive connection between walking, thinking, and writing. Because walking does not take much thought, our attention is free to wander and ponder. This is the mental state that is linked to innovative ideas and insight.

22. It Will Improve Your Outlook on Life

When you are active for at least 30 or 40 minutes a day, your body will release chemicals, endorphins that help improve your mood. They send signals to your brain that you feel good, along with other neurotransmitters.

If you feel good, your outlook on life will improve.

Daily walking will reduce the levels of cortisol in your body. This is a hormone linked to causing stress and bad moods. Reasonable exercise will improve the way you feel. This can help you feel more positive about life and about yourself.

23. Your Legs Will Look Good and Be Stronger

Walking on a daily basis will help tone your legs and make them look great and be stronger. Regular walking with help you get rid of your cottage cheese legs and tighten up your skin, making your legs look and feel better.

As we get older, our body loses muscle tone. Walking is a good way to increase the muscle tone of your legs. Swinging your arms back and forth as you walk can also increase the tone of your arms

24. You Will Have More Regular Bathroom Habits

When you get on a regular daily walking schedule, you will soon find that other areas of your life become more regular as well...Mainly, going to the bathroom.

Having regular bowel movements is another benefit of walking. It speeds up digestion and therefore, causes a more regular removal of waste materials from the body.

Those people who have a sedentary lifestyle, usually have very slow digestive system. When your bowels slow, waste material becomes hard and it is more difficult to pass, causing constipation.

Start walking and get rid of the medicines for constipation. All the blood flowing to your muscles, through moderate exercise, will carry the waste material away.

25. Walking Uphill Will Firm Your Glutes

Many people are concerned about more than just the size of their butts and outer thighs. They want them to be firm.

Having a soft, saggy butt and thighs is not what most people find attractive. Firm glute muscles make the whole package look great.

Once you get your regular daily walking routine set, add some uphill walking. It will tighten your glutes and your legs. Say goodbye to the soft flab forever.

26. Improve Your Memory

Regular daily walking is a form of exercise that can increase the size of your brain. It increases the hippocampus, which is the area used for memory.

You don’t need to do pounding exercises either, a brisk daily 30- to 40-minute walk is all you need.

As we age, our memory sometimes begins to slow. Plus, in today’s Information age, we have more things to remember. To get rid of brain fog and be able to rely on your recall ability, get out and walk each day.

A fast-paced walk can wake your brain from its deep slumber. You will be able to recall events more quickly and remember things a lot more easily.

27. Exercise Increases the Functioning of the Lungs

The exercise you get from brisk walking increases the workload on the lungs. The sympathetic nerves stimulate your respiratory muscles so that you increase the rate of breathing.

Byproducts from your muscles (hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and lactic acid) stimulate the respiratory nerves in the brainstem. This again stimulates the respiratory muscles. A slightly elevated blood pressure opens blood flow to more air sacs in the lungs.

This whole process produces more oxygen in the blood. When your lungs get more oxygen, your whole body gets more.

28. Increases Dexterity

Walking can help you improve your balance and physical dexterity. You will increase your control and purposeful physical movements. It is especially important to maintain physical dexterity as you age.

Losing this can lead to more falls and frailty. While you are walking, at a brisk pace, carry five pound weights in each hand. This will help with manual dexterity.

It will make your fingers, wrists, and hands stronger and more flexible. Losing the ability to move quickly and effectively is what causes older people not to be able to take care of themselves. By exercising your muscles daily by walking with weights, you can slow the process.

29. Improve Fluid Intelligence

Fluid intelligence is an innate learning capacity. It does not depend on education, experiences, or previous learning. It refers to a person’s ability to reason and process and analyze information.

Fluid intelligence is handled by the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This intelligence peaks in the late 20s and begins a steady decline.

This is known as age-related decline on the right cerebellum. A similar condition is often seen in people with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

Exercise increases BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and activates the genes that help with cognition.The hormone caused by degeneration of neurons is cortisol, which shrinks the hippocampus. It is thought that increasing aerobic exercise will combat this problem.

Brisk daily walking is a good form of aerobic exercise. It will help increase the fluid intelligence you have.

30. Make You Look Younger

By tightening up sagging skin and firming muscle tone, daily walking cannot help but make you look younger. If your skin is firmer and muscles tighten up, you will definitely look and feel a lot better.

Daily walking will also stimulate the blood flow to your skin, giving your face more color and vibrancy--and the rest of your body as well. Being out in the fresh air on a regular basis will make you look and feel younger.

31. Help you Get Rid of Flabby Legs

Have you ever seen the flab on people’s legs who do very little exercise?

Their legs seem to sway with every step they take. That is because they have minimal muscle tone. Their legs carry an overabundance of fat material. Fat has no form. It just moves around with no structure.

Daily walking over a period of time will get rid of the excess fat and flab. Your legs will firm up and look great. In a bit of time, you will have toned muscular legs that you will be proud of.

32.Get More Sun Exposure for Vitamin D

Do you ever find yourself in the doldrums on rainy days, especially if you have experienced more than one or two consecutive days of this weather?

That’s because your body needs Vitamin D, which comes naturally from the sun.

Daily walking will help give you more exposure to the natural form of Vitamin D, that comes from skin exposure to the sun. Outdoor walking will help increase your body’s access to Vitamin D, giving you that extra boost that will help you feel good.

A 30-minute brisk walk each day gives you a lift in your step, because Vitamin D from the sun works on mood, as well. No need for prolonged exposure to sun, just a few minutes each day.

33. Improve Blood Lipid Levels

Low-Density Lipoprotein is thought to increase the risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses in the body.

Exercise stimulates enzymes that help get LDL out of the blood and into the liver. There it can be used for digestion and the excess is excreted from the body. Exercise increases the size of the protein particles carrying cholesterol through the body.

The smaller particles can squeeze through to the heart and other body parts, weakening them. So, exercise helps reduce this by increasing the size of protein particles. The exercise required is not just moderate walking, but more vigorous walking, the kind that is considered aerobic exercise. This means fast walking for 30 to 40 minutes a day.

34. Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Research shows that physical activity is linked to a reduced risk of Cancer. Reports show that active people have a 24 percent lower chance of getting colon cancer.

Active women are less likely to get breast cancer. There are reports showing that other cancers are reduced with moderate physical activity as well. Esophageal cancer, liver cancer, and others are reported to be reduced by exercise. Exercise lowers that level of some hormones like estrogen, insulin, and certain growth factors that increase cancer risk.

It helps food digest faster, lowering stomach and GI tract cancers. It has been said that where there is oxygen, cancer cannot grow. Walking will greatly increase the amount of oxygen flowing through your body.

35. Daily Walking Improves Asthmatic and Respiratory Conditions

People with asthma and respiratory conditions many times believe that exercise is bad for them and will bring on asthma and breathing attacks. That is not necessarily the case.

Exercise is good for people with asthma. However, the level of exercise must be appropriate. Obviously, you do not want to over exert yourself, but daily walking is typically good for asthma patients.

It can be started slowly and built up as you feel comfortable. It will help open your airways and make breathing a bit smoother. It will strengthen your lungs and help improve on your breathing and reduce asthma symptoms. Asthma patients' lungs are more sensitive to cold air, hot air, pollen, and other things from the atmosphere.

Breathing through the nose rather than the mouth when exercising is recommended for asthma patients. Air is warmed and filtered before reaching the lungs, making it easier for breathing.

Walking is one of the best exercises in order to avoid mouth breathing. Walk at a pace that allows you to continue breathing through your nose. When you start to breathe through your mouth, slow down or take a rest.

36 Sleep Disorders are Reduced by Daily Walking

People who engage in daily exercise have fewer problems with sleeplessness.

Moderate exercise, like daily walking, improves the quality of sleep by allowing a smoother transition between the different phases of sleep.

Heavier exercising in the morning and afternoon are better for sleep. More mild exercise at bedtime is best. It will allow you to get to the deepest stage of sleep and stay asleep longer.

37. PMS

Low-impact exercises have proven to reduce PMS symptoms and make that time of the month a little easier to handle.

When the cramps start, take a brisk walk and you will likely reduce some of those nasty symptoms. By increasing the endorphins being released in your brain, you will likely be in a much better mood as well.

All the benefits of exercise still work for period time, just slow it down a little bit. Avoid high impact exercises like running and substitute a brisk walk.

38 Reduces Chances of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Daily walking can help reduce the chances of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. It keeps that brain functioning better, increases the oxygen that is circulating through your body, including your brain.

Being sedentary for a long period of time can cause brain fog that can lead to reduced functioning of the brain.

The brain will actually shrink in sedentary people. Exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, which supports thinking.

Many find it hard to believe that the brain can recover from a sedentary lifestyle, however, it can and there are many cases to prove it. By rejuvenating your brain activity, you can reduce the chances that you will develop dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.

39. Helps Reduce Obesity

Obesity is a problem that many Americans suffer from, due to lack of exercise and overeating. Many people sit all day long on their jobs, and then feel that they don’t have time to exercise after taking care of children and families in the evening.

A simple 30-40 minute brisk walk each day could help reduce or prevent obesity. This is a condition that can lead to all kinds of health problems and reduce your lifespan as well.

Even if you don’t change your eating habits, a daily walk will help you burn more calories and stay healthier.

Many overweight or obese people say they don’t have the energy to exercise, but if you just start out slowly and build up the time you walk, your health will improve immensely.

40. Improves your Sex Life

Daily walking will basically improve your lifestyle. It improves muscles strength, mind-body coordination, and other physical activities. It can also improve the sex drive in both men and women.

Exercise showed a significant increase in the sex drive of men. It has shown to have the effect of increasing the physiological and sexual arousal of women as well. It increases body awareness which also increased sexual arousal.

The increased self-esteem that comes with exercising also has a huge impact on sex drive for both men and women.

41. Help Prevent Miscarriage

When you become pregnant your joints can soften a bit, which may lead to injuries if you are too active.

Many women who were very athletic before their pregnancies, want to stay at the same level during pregnancy. Many doctors recommend avoiding high-impact exercise during pregnancy.

To stay active and healthy, daily walking is highly recommended, instead of running and other extreme exercises. A study showed that women who worked out with high-impact exercises during pregnancy were 3-5 times more likely to have a miscarriage than women who did not work out at all.

So, low-impact walking will help keep your heart and other muscles strong, but not do damage to your pregnant body. Most doctors advise their pregnant patients to do regular low-impact exercise. It keeps them in good shape for delivering their babies and it keeps them from gaining too much weight while they are pregnant.

42. Daily Walking Increases Energy

Research from the University of Georgia found that when sedentary people started 20-30 minutes of low-impact exercise, several times a week, that they had more energy and less fatigue.

Walking will increase the blood flow to muscles and the brain, increasing energy levels and help them feel better.

Exercise increases adenosine triphosphate, a chemical produced by the body that increases blood flow.

If you are feeling tired and run down, it could be due to lack of exercise. Taking a brisk walk will wake up your brain and your body. You will lose the fatigue feeling and feel more vibrant.

43. Best Way to Exercise the Muscles in Your Feet

Most people never even think about exercising their feet, but there are ligaments, muscles, and bones in the feet that need regular exercise as well. There are 50 muscles in the feet alone.

The feet muscles need exercise to stay healthy and maintain proper function. When they don’t get enough exercise, they become weak.

Daily walking will exercise the 26 bones in the feet without damaging them. It will keep them functioning more smoothly so you can stay mobile for the rest of your life.

To reduce aches and pains after your walk, a gentle massage of your feet is helpful. Stretch them out so it relieves any stress and pain.

44. Keeps Your Metabolism Working Fast

Daily walking will increase your metabolism and keep it working at a much faster rate. This will allow your body to burn calories faster and for a longer period of time.

Did you know that when you exercise on a regular basis, you even burn calories while you are sleeping?

You don’t have to do extreme exercises for this to happen either. A fast-paced walk each day will increase your overall metabolism, which means that it will even be working faster while you sleep.

A brisk 30-40 minute walk each day will help you digest food faster, lose weight, and stay much healthier. If your digestion works faster, it can prevent stomach and other abdominal problems as well.

45. Helps Raise Your High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol

We discussed how walking can help lower the bad cholesterol in your body, staving off diseases that can be caused by it. However, walking can also increase the HDL cholesterol.

You probably remember hearing about good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The good cholesterol, HDL, transports harmful low-density cholesterol to the liver where it is broken down and expelled from the body.

HDL is important for stabilizing your blood cholesterol level. Walking will boost this level over a period of time.

46. Can Help Reduce Acid Reflux

If you suffer from acid reflux, you know how important getting relief is. You run to take antacids at the first sign of an attack.

Well, walking can help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux and reduce the occurrence of the attacks. Some forms of exercise can increase the chances of acid reflux, especially those that require you to lay flat on your back or put a lot of strain on your chest.

A doctor’s study of 1,875 people with acid reflux found that those who took a walk after dinner (and eat 3 hours before bedtime), were able to reduce their episodes of GERD.

47. Relieve Menopause Symptoms

Women who are going through menopause can benefit from a regular exercise to reduce symptoms of menopause.

A study done on women from 55 to 72 showed that women who were involved in regular exercise experienced far fewer menopause symptoms than those who did not exercise. 

48. Walking Can Reduce Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome is a neurological disorder that causes a throbbing, creeping, or tingling sensation in the legs. It typically happens at night, when the suffer is trying to sleep. They must move their legs or even stand to relieve the sensation.

Both men and women can have the condition, however, women are twice as likely to have it.

Walking is a great exercise for restless leg syndrome. Speed walking or walking at a brisk pace is best.

Remember to stretch and bend before you start your walk, so you are limbered up. Do stretching at the end of your walk also.

49. Walking Improves Circulation

Walking is a great way to increase your circulation. Just like with any other bodily function, if you are active, things will work better.

That includes the blood flow and circulation to all your body parts.

Walking can help improve circulation and it is helpful for peripheral artery disease. Atherosclerosis is the buildup of plaque in the arteries. This is a narrowing of the blood vessels. Walking can help prevent this condition and with regular walks can help reverse it.

50. Improves Your Social Life

Many people claim to have met new friends and neighbors by regularly taking a daily walk. Meeting new people and making new friends has a definite benefit to your overall health and enjoyment of life. It improves your mental attitude and helps reduce isolation.

So, you now have 50 good reasons to start a daily walking program. Surely some of these things will be of benefit to you.

There is no reason to sit around on the couch and watch TV all evening. When you get home from work, put on your walking shoes and get outside. You will be amazed at how it will improve your life. If you are married, take your spouse with you. If not, ask a friend to go along.

Walking with a group is also a popular way for people to get in the swing of a new exercise program. If you can’t convince someone to walk with you, it’s fine to walk by yourself. You will begin to feel much better and look better too.

If you are on medications, you will be surprised that you maybe able to reduce or stop some of it all together. 

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About The Author

Jacky Miller's picture

Jacky Miller is a Registered Dietician based in New Zealand. She specializes in chronic conditions and through diet and lifestyle changes helps her patients improve their health, and lead richer, more fulfilling lives. She writes regularly on health related topics for blogs including MindBodyGreen, Jen Reviews, and The Huffington Post. 

Follow Jacky on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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