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Walking Your Way to Good Health

by Lauren Neale | Published December 21, 2023 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Many people want to lead an active, healthy lifestyle, yet are unsure where to start.  Some dive headfirst into strength training, while others prioritize cardio.  However, these exercises are tough on the muscles and can soon lead to burnout and waning motivation.  An exercise that is often overlooked, but holds immense health benefits is walking.  

Some may see this as a cop out for true exercising, but walking is a sustainable exercise that promotes a healthy lifestyle and better health.  People who incorporate daily walking habits improve not only their health, but their memory and mood as well.1  By learning the health benefits of walking and setting reasonable walking goals, you can start walking your way to better health!

Health Benefits of Walking

Walking unlocks incredible benefits for your overall health.  It can help you lose or maintain your body weight and trim body fat.2  A brisk 30-minute walk can burn on average 200 calories which can lead to positive outcomes on the scale.2  

Walking has the power to reduce various health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes and can even strengthen your immune system.1  Although walking does not fall into the category of weight-lifting and strength training, it can support bone and muscle strength and support your joints without overexerting them.2  These are all internal health benefits, but walking also supports external health benefits as well.  

Consistent walking can improve your mood, strengthen your memory, and help reduce stress.1  It can even lead to deeper sleep, especially in women ages 50-75.2  Walking is a simple way to exercise that unleashes positive health benefits, so using the right technique and finding ways to incorporate it into your daily life is important.

Watch Your Technique

To get the most out of walking for exercise, you must change your regular walking stride to be more purposeful.  Using the proper technique will help you achieve more of the above health benefits.  

When you are walking make sure to:

1. Keep Your Head Up

Looking at the ground can lead to slouched shoulders and bad posture which can turn to leisurely walking.  By keeping your head up, you are encouraging good posture and purposeful strides.

2. Relax Your Neck and Shoulders

Tensing these muscles may be tempting as you walk with determination.  However, these stiff movements will make you more sore and your movements more robotic instead of natural.  Your strides should be fluid, not stiff.

3. Swing Your Arms with a Slight Bend in Your Elbows

Swinging your arms will make your strides longer, more purposeful and set a good pace for your walk.  It will even help get your heart rate up!

4. Tighten Your Stomach and Back Muscles

Walking utilizes your core muscle groups.  By tightening your stomach and back muscles you're strengthening your core and ensuring you have good posture throughout your walk.

5. Roll Your Foot from Heel to Toe

As you walk, your steps should be from heel to toe to make your strides smooth and steady.1 

By implementing this walking technique, you will be well on your way to improving your health.

Five Ways to Add in More Walking

Understanding the health benefits and knowing the proper technique are only pieces of the puzzle.  The final piece is knowing how to incorporate walking into your everyday routines.  There are several easy ways to add more walking into your daily life.  Here are five to help you get started!

1. Make it Routine

Set a daily walking goal for yourself that is reasonable and measurable.  Start with a smaller amount like 10 or 15 minutes a day.1  Establish a habit at this amount before adding more time.  By developing consistency with a smaller amount, it will make it easier for larger amounts in the future.

2. Make it Social

Don’t limit yourself to walking alone, find a friend that can encourage you to get out and walk.  You could join an exercise group or walk while talking to someone on the phone.3  The goal is to make it fun and enjoyable so you are inspired to do it again and again!

3. Vary Your Routine

Walking in the same place or on the same route can get mundane over time.  Vary your walking course every once in a while to get a change of scenery.  Different routes could require a different pace and strengthen muscles further.  Making your routine diverse will make it more enjoyable for you and support muscle strength.

4. Take the Stairs

Sometimes finding the time to add in a daily walk is difficult which means you must get creative to fit walking into your schedule.  One method is by avoiding the elevator or escalator and taking the stairs.  This is a simple way to add in more steps without it interfering with a busy schedule.

5. Track Your Activity

With the use of technology, it is easier than ever to track your physical activity.  Apps or wristbands can track the amount of steps you take in a day and can be a practical way for you to set walking goals for yourself.3

Using these tips can help you establish a walking habit that will unlock healthy benefits for your mood, memory, and health.

Make Walking a Habit

Exercising is an important part of anyone’s health and wellness.  Adding in exercise to achieve health benefits does not mean that you need to bench press, run a marathon, or get a certain number of cardio hours.  You can gain incredible health benefits just by adding in walking to your daily routine.

Walking can be an influential habit to establish as it will improve your overall health and inspire an active lifestyle.  By utilizing the proper posture and walking technique and finding creative ways to weave walking into your day to day life, you will experience a lightened mood, better memory, all while reducing stress and adverse health conditions.


1 Walking: Trim your Waistline, Improve your Health. Mayo Clinic. MAy 19, 2021.

2 12 Benefits of Walking. Arthritis Foundation. 2022.

3 6 Ways to Add More Walking into your Day. Simply Health. July 14, 2021.

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