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Creating a lighter, healthier you is a multi-step process. One of the most important steps, and the main focus of this section, is exercise. Here we explore everything from the benefits of exercise to how much and how often it is necessary to promote weight loss.

One Simple Exercise with 21 Proven Health Benefits

What if we told you that there’s 1 simple exercise that has 21 proven benefits? Sounds too good to be true? We’re thankful it’s not! Take a step towards health with these proven benefits of simply walking.

One Simple Exercise with 21 Proven Health Benefits

When it comes to achieving health benefits from exercise, the two words "simple" and "effective" generally do not come to mind. With obesity rates on the rise in the U.S., the concept of easy exercise is needed now more than ever. 

Take a step towards health with these proven, walking exercise benefits.

Walking to 21 Health Benefits

1. Walking can naturally strengthen leg muscles. Accelerate the walking pace or utilize hills for further leg toning.

2. Since walking helps to build lower-body strength, it can improve balance and coordination and prevent falls, especially in older adults.

3. Walk tall with shoulders back, and head and chest up. Proper walking technique can improve posture and reduce or prevent back pain.

4. Consistent aerobic exercise, such as walking, increases stamina and endurance.

5. Brisk walking for 30 minutes to an hour can not only lower total and "bad" cholesterol, but raise "good" cholesterol, especially when paired with a nutritious diet.

6. Walking builds and improves bone health, thus reducing the risk of developing osteoporosis.

7. Research has shown walking can lower the risk of high blood pressure, or hypertension, as much as running can.

8. Blood flow is improved with consistent walking, thus reducing the risk of stroke.

9. Although moderate to high-intensity exercise is recommended for successful weight loss, research shows sedentary activity (or light walking) can still be beneficial.

10. Obesity is a risk factor for diabetes. Sustaining a healthy weight with exercise reduces the risk of developing this chronic disease.

11. For those living with diabetes, walking and partaking in exercise can help stabilize blood sugar levels, especially in conjunction with a healthy diet.

12. Individuals with arthritis often have obstacles when it comes to exercising. Walking can be gentle and tolerated for those living with arthritis.

13. Walking accelerates breathing rates and allows oxygen to travel faster in the bloodstream. Waste product are efficiently eliminated and improves breath.

14. Walking can reduce the risk of infection and catching that pesky common cold, as it helps to boost immunity.

15. Beyond physical benefits, walking plays a role in psychological health by increasing self-ratings of energy, happiness, and self-esteem.

16. Exercise releases endorphins, that "feel good" hormone, and can boost mood and reduce stress.

17. A Stanford study found walking improves creativity despite the environment. Step in or outdoors to boost the imagination!

18. Studies have shown walking can enhance cognition and slows mental decline, especially in memory capabilities.

19. Along with memory enhancement, studies have demonstrated those who walk 40 minutes each day can be a preventative measure to reduce the development of Alzheimer's disease.

20. Regulate sleeping patterns and catch better Zzz's with each step you take.

21. Walk to a longer life! Add an extra three to seven years of life with brisk, daily walking.

Get to Stepping

When it comes to achieving the health benefits of walking, experts ideally recommend 30 minutes to an hour of physical activity most days of the week. 

Although busy schedules can be an interference, increasing steps can easily be incorporated throughout the day – park further away from entrances, take a longer route from your desk to the bathroom, use your lunch hour to walk with coworkers, and climb the steps over taking the elevator. 

So, tie up your favorite walking shoes and stroll throughout neighborhoods, in the city, along trails, up hills, or simply on a treadmill!


12 Benefits of Walking. Arthritis Foundation. 

Walk, Don't Run, Your Way to a Healthy Heart. American Heart Association. 

Christy Zagarella's Photo
Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on May 30, 2016. Updated on January 15, 2021.


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