If you ever told me back in the day that walking would make a huge difference in my results ... I probably would have laughed at you.
But it's true! A huge, but very common, misconception is that you need to beat down your body in the gym every day to see results. I'm here to tell you, that just isn't true.
I know what you are thinking, how could that be?
With all the hype around HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and other extreme workouts ... we sometimes fall into the trap of believing getting fit and improving our health needs to be an intense process.
I know I did! So, what do we do?
We push. We sweat. We grit our teeth. We absolutely destroy the barriers that stand in our way.
Now, ideally you'd want to do some form of resistance training 3-5 times a week ... but don't underestimate the power of walking as well.
There are few circumstances where the best fitness solution is also the simplest ... but this happens to be one of them.
WHY SHOULD WE ALL BE WALKING?
How many times have you circled a parking lot, looking for a close spot to the entrance? Then, you end up wasting 5-10 minutes because you're unwilling to park in the back.
I've done it ... and I'm sure you've done it plenty of times yourself too. But just think about that, and let it sink in for a minute.
We are willing to pay to get fit, but we won’t walk a few extra yards any time we get the chance? Why is that?
Well, the jokes on us; because every step we take (or choose not to take) has an impact on our fitness.
If we are going out of our way to avoid walking, we are missing out on a free, low-impact exercise that carries with it a whole slew of benefits.
More and more research is discovering just how harmful too much sitting can be as well. Therefore, we should all make getting up, getting out, and walking around a part of our daily routine ... especially if you have a desk job or you're rather sedentary throughout the day like me.
But enough of the sermon; you’re not here for platitudes. You’re here to see what the benefits of walking actually are.
So let’s get to it...
TOP 8 HEALTH BENEFITS OF WALKING
Walking is good for more than just getting you from point A to point B. Obviously, it's great at that.
But, it's also a vital step (pun fully intended) toward achieving a healthy lifestyle.
How? By providing you with the following benefits:
Improved Muscle Development
I'm not saying you will pack on a ton of muscle just from walking. However, that doesn't mean you can't get in shape. Walking can help to strengthen and tone leg, abdominal, and even arm muscles (if you're using correct form).
Even more importantly, walking is essential for developing muscle endurance. That's because walking helps build slow-twitch muscle fibers. These fibers are essential for sustaining long periods of activity.
Enhanced Joint Support
Unlike most other parts of the body, the cartilage in our joints has no dedicated blood supply.
Instead, joint fluid that carries oxygen and vital nutrients is circulated as we move. So, the more you walk, the more you'll allow that fluid to flow where it's needed.
Each step applies pressure that squeezes waste products out of the joint. When this pressure decreases, oxygenated fluid is pulled back in.
On the other hand, when we fall out of the habit of walking regularly ... our joints can become starved for nutrients. This normally results in stiffness, pain, or sometimes even more severe problems.
Reduced Bone Loss
Muscles, joints, and now bones? Yup, that's right.
You see, walking is a weight-bearing exercise (you're carrying yourself)! With that being said, it will force your body to reinforce your skeletal structure to support the effort.
The end result is stronger bones and reduced chances of bone loss as you get older.
Improved or Elevated Mood
Have you ever heard of the runner’s high? Well, you might not have to hit your top speed to experience it.
As you walk, your body releases endorphins which flood your system.
These natural painkillers promote a sense of calm and well-being.
In other words, walking can make you feel happy — and research suggests that the more steps you take per day, the happier you’ll feel.
We can all admit we feel a lot better after a good workout ... well, the same applies to your walks.
Improved Circulation and Cardiovascular Health
Interested in cardio? Start walking.
Walking increases your heart rate, improves blood flow, and helps relieve arterial stiffness (lowering blood pressure in the process).
This can put you at a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Really, everyone should be walking for this reason, if for no other reason.
Your quality of sleep is a key determinant of your mood, energy levels, and overall health. If you constantly find yourself struggling to fall asleep, or if you aren't getting a deep, restful sleep ... walking could help.
On top of the obvious reason being it helps you burn more energy, walking outside in the natural light can help you develop a strong circadian rhythm.
That way you can get on better track with your sleep and be tired as soon as your head hits the pillow.
Heightened Immune Function
A healthier body means better protection against colds, the flu, and other illnesses related to the immune system.
Physical exercise, including walking, increases the number of white blood cells in your body. This allows your body to combat infection and disease more effectively.
Also, the benefits of lower stress and better sleep can also contribute to a stronger immune system. So really, walking kills quite a few birds with one stone.
Better Weight Management
Finally, it’s no secret that regular walking burns calories. Even if the calorie burn seems low compared to running, it's still not something to overlook.
Even a couple hundred calories a day can make a huge difference.
It has also been suggested that walking may help reduce food cravings. 
BONUS: IT IS LOW IMPACT!
That's right - walking is low impact. This means it’s going to put less stress on your body than other exercises, like running or weight lifting.
It can even help to reduce the need for rest days so you can remain consistently active. However, once again, I don't recommend using walking as your main form of exercise.
ON THE PATH TO BETTER HEALTH
If you’re interested in taking a more active role in your fitness and don't know where to start ... a daily walk may be just the perfect thing for you!
So, the next time you’re headed to the gym (or the store, or nearly anywhere else), consider walking. Or, if you're too far to walk, consider parking at the back of the lot to get some extra steps in.
The benefits of walking every day are significant and impactful. It's a great strategy to help you reach your fitness goals and maintain them long-term.
But, I get it ... knowing exactly what you need to do to reach your goals and see amazing results is hard. After all, everybody is different ... there is no clear cut plan.
If you're having trouble with getting started, seeing results, or have any questions ... reach out to us! You can talk with one of our NASM Certified Personal Trainers for free. Just give us a call at 1-800-409-9732 or send us an email at CustomerService@1stPhorm.com.
We're here to make sure you're on track to see the best possible results, so don't hesitate to use us as a resource.
If you'd like even more guided help with your workouts, nutrition, goals, and more ... download the 1st Phorm App! Inside the app, you get 1-on-1 access to your own fitness/nutrition coach, an endless library of workouts, nutrition tracking, and so much more!
 Ledochowski L, Ruedl G, Taylor AH, Kopp M. Acute effects of brisk walking on sugary snack cravings in overweight people, affect and responses to a manipulated stress situation and to a sugary snack cue: a crossover study. PLoS One. 2015 Mar 11;10(3):e0119278. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119278. PMID: 25760042; PMCID: PMC4356559.