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What are the health benefits of walking?

The health benefits of regular physical activity are far-reaching. Physical activity doesn't have to be very strenuous for an individual to reap significant health benefits. Even small increases in light to moderate activity, equivalent to walking for about 30 minutes a day, will produce measurable benefits among those who are least active.

Some of the long-term health benefits of walking include:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Strengthened heart and cardiovascular system
  • Increased bone density
  • Production of growth hormones that counteract the effects of aging
  • Increased production of endorphins that improve mental and physical health
  • Weight loss or weight maintenance
  • Strengthened nervous system and reflexes
  • Increased flexibility
  • Balanced insulin production

Individuals with health conditions or who are currently not very active should talk with their healthcare provider before starting a walking routine.

More health benefits, research, and resources are available at Why Walking: Physically Active for a Lifetime, The Positive Healthy Rewards From Walking, and in our section on the Benefits of Walking.