Workout articles, healthy lifestyle tips, and fitness advice.

Is Walking Good Exercise? 5 Health Benefits of Walking

Health benefits of walking


Is walking good for you? The short answer is YES. Walking can be excellent exercise with a myriad of benefits, physical and mental. So whether you’re looking to raise your heart rate and clock some cardio or clear your head after a tough meeting, walking is just what the doctor ordered. 

Let’s unpack why walking is the perfect prescription for many of our daily woes, unpack the top 5 health benefits of walking, and prepare you to add walking to your daily or weekly health routine. 

5 Health Benefits of Walking Every Day

If you’re still asking, “Is walking good exercise?” or “Is walking good for you?” then it’s time to answer that once and for all with some cold, hard facts. While there are well over a dozen science-verified health benefits of walking, according to the Mayo Clinic, we’ll outline our favorite five here. 

  1. Walking is Good For Your Heart. Walking every day lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease. It also improves circulation, strengthens the heart muscle, and can lead to better overall cardiovascular health.
  2. Improves Mood, Cognition, and Sleep. Trouble drifting to dreamland? Add a walk to your daily routine. Those who walk regularly report better mood, higher levels of cognition, and improved sleep. 
  3. Strengthens Bones and Muscles. Not just good for the heart and mind, stronger bones and muscles are another one of the many health benefits of walking. 
  4. Reduces Stress and Tension. Regular walking can also reduce stress and anxiety and increase overall energy levels. It is a simple and accessible exercise form that can significantly benefit physical and mental health.
  5. Helps Immune Function. Suffering from a weakened immune system? Research from the British Journal of Sports Medicine confirms that walking improves immune function by increasing the circulation of immune cells in the body and reducing inflammation, which can help protect against everything from the common cold to flare-ups of chronic diseases. 

These are just a few of our favorite benefits of walking every day or at least a few times a week. And since walking for health can be good exercise, especially for beginners, let’s explore some logistics folks face when adding walking to a fitness routine. 

Where to Walk: Inside or Out?

The first thing to decide is where you’ll enjoy a walk: inside or the great outdoors? Of course, the weather may answer this question since heavy rain and extreme temperatures mean you’ll be stuck inside. Not to worry, a treadmill workout can be a great way to get many benefits of walking. But inside or out, you can always concentrate on your technique and posture–more on that below. 

And think outside the treadmill box by finding other indoor walking options like an indoor track. One of the non-fitness benefits of walking every day–or as often as possible–is exploring new places in your town or city. 

When walking outdoors, you have lots of options. Local parks, hiking trails, or just the sidewalk in your neighborhood can offer an exciting locale for your walk. 

What to Consider When Walking Outside

Besides staying aware of your surroundings, there are a few other things to consider before you set out for your stroll. If you’re outside, keep your headphone volume low and noise-canceling features turned off. Plus, you’ll want to stay aware of vehicles and pedestrians crossing roads. Finally, walking can be a mindful activity, focusing on where you are instead of being distracted by frustrating or stressful situations beyond your control. 

Wherever you’re walking, ensure you’re rocking supportive shoes and practicing proper technique. Arms should be swinging easily by the side, chin parallel to the ground, and gaze straight ahead with shoulders back, but not tense. Roll easily from heel to toe while engaging the core muscles slightly. 

How to Turn Walking into a Workout Routine

Sure, walking is good exercise. But is walking really working out? Again, YES! Especially if you’re consistent and get intentional about your routine. 

Walk With Weights

Once you’re enjoying the benefits of walking every day (or a few times a week), pick up some hand or ankle weights or even a weighted vest to boost your strength training. Use light weights—no more than five pounds—to increase resistance and build strength more quickly. Stay vigilant when mixing up your routine so you don’t add too much too soon. 

Increase Distance and Speed

As your bones and muscles strengthen, you can cover longer distances faster. However, don’t overextend yourself too soon, or you could face an injury that keeps you on the sidelines for weeks. Instead, increase speed and distance gradually. For example, add 5-10 minutes to your weekly walk or a quarter mile to your distance every few days. Consistency will help you form a lasting habit. 

Join a Gym

If you’re psyched about the health benefits of walking and want to continue your fitness journey, consider joining a gym to access a treadmill for those indoor walks. Walking isn’t the only low-impact exercise option that’s great for beginners. Planet Fitness offers tons of cardio equipment, plus small group training with every membership. Get started now on the free PF App.