Benefits of Walking Every Day

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Recently I set a goal: walk every day for the next 30 days. The motivation behind my goal? I have an upcoming trip to a new-to-me city in the US. My favorite way to get to know a city is to walk it and explore the streets, restaurants and shops.

I know my body. If I begin my explorations with miles of walking, without a warm up first, my legs protest greatly.

Walking every day before the trip conditions my legs…and my body…for the upcoming extra activity. I met my goal…32 days of walking daily so far.

It turns out there are additional benefits of walking every day, beyond getting ready for a adventure! Check out how the body responds, to walking every day for at least 30 days.

Benefits of Walking Every Day title meme

Not My First Walking Challenge

This isn’t my first walking challenge. It is, in fact, my third such challenge.

The first, attempted almost four years ago, began as a 30 Day Walking Challenge, in which I walked in a different location every day. I made it to Day 27…and then fell and badly twisted my left knee. Sadly, it took me eight months to fully recover from that fall.

The second 30 day walking challenge began in January of this year. I did great…walking in snow, rain and cold temperatures…until my area experienced a severe cold snap that lasted for days. Those freezing cold days ended my daily walks.

This time, I remained determined to walk daily in spite of hot temperatures, rain and muggy days of high humidity. Of course, like every one else, I DO walk every day in the course of my normal activities. The walking challenge, however, is an intentional “get dressed for a walk and get out the door” practice that I do every single day, no matter what.

I feel ready for my trip. More than that, I feel great.

Here are the benefits of walking every day and the changes that occur in the body.

“Walking is almost an insurance policy for aging well.”  Karisa Karmali

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Benefits of walking every day – beautiful morning for a walk

Greater Longevity

Harvard researchers discovered that walking 4, 400 steps a day is enough to significantly lower the risk of death. Researchers tracked a group of women…average age 72 years old…for four years. They found the benefits leveled off at around 7,500 steps.

So, start small if necessary. Walk short distances and then gradually increase the number of steps. Wear a pedometer or smart bracelet to count your steps. Or carry your phone. Mine has a built in health app that is always recording my number of steps per day.

Lowers Depression

Walking daily is not only good for physical health, it’s beneficial for mental health as well. A daily walking practice helps relieve stress, which can contribute to depression. Plus the body releases the “feel good” hormone endorphins. And those endorphins help us feel more energized and happier for the rest of the day, long after we complete the walk.

Sharpens the Brain

Walking is one of the best ways to reduce the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Brisk walking even increases the size of the hippocampus in older adults. The hippocampus is where memories form. Adults also experience greater cognitive function.

Improves Heart Health

Walking daily improves the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. Stronger, healthier heart and lungs reduces the risks of stroke and heart attack while managing hypertension and preventing type 2 diabetes.

Walking also improves circulation throughout the body. Muscles learn to efficiently use the extra oxygen delivered by improved circulation, which in turn increases blood flow even more in the body.

Increases Lung Volume

Walking increases blood flow, which increases the oxygen flow. It helps us breathe deeper and better, eliminating toxins and wastes from the body.

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Benefits of walking every day – I walk in my neighborhood and enjoy the beauty all around me

Strengthens Bones and Muscles

After age 30, bones and muscles weaken and begin to break down. Walking daily helps slow the aging process of bones and muscles without stressing joints.

And postmenopausal women who walk every day have higher overall bone density than women who don’t.

Additionally, as we walk muscles tug on the bones, which stimulates the production of bone cells, keeping bones strong and healthy.

Better Sleep

As we walk, our body temperature rises and then falls after we finish. This rise and fall of temperature during the day helps us fall asleep faster at night.

Improves Eyesight

Surprisingly, walking daily benefits eye health as well by relieving eye pressure. This helps to fight glaucoma.

Aids Digestion

Thirty minutes of walking a day lowers the risk of colon cancer. It also improves digestion and helps prevent constipation by regulating bowel movements.

Walking benefits the pancreas by improving glucose tolerance.

Provides Pain Relief

Walking daily reduces pain, stiffness and inflammation in joints. The increased blood flow also improves flexibility in joints and the back.

My Experience after Walking for 30 Days

You might remember that I experienced pain and inflammation in my legs for more than 20 years, due to chronic sciatica. Switching to a plant based lifestyle eliminated the sciatica, along with the pain and inflammation. However, I still struggle with muscle tightness…a result of years of chronic inflammation and perhaps some nerve damage.

Here’s what I notice, after walking every day for 30 days:

  • less muscle tightness in my legs, and not just when I’m walking. Overall much less tightness in general, even after standing for long periods of time or a day of greatly increased activity.
  • more flexibility in knee joints
  • reduced muscle tension throughout my body
  • more toned muscles
  • weight loss
  • greater stamina
  • greater endurance
  • fewer headaches
  • higher energy levels
  • improved breathing and lower resting heart rate
  • fall asleep quickly
  • increased flashes of creativity, deeper gratitude and bursts of big ideas
  • greater sense of wellbeing
  • high level of satisfaction
  • appreciation for my body and how it works

What’s Next

I’m excited to continue walking…up until my trip, while traveling and when I return home.

I’ve met my goal. So if I miss a day occasionally, I won’t beat myself up. However, I so appreciate the benefits that I’m experiencing that I WANT to continue walking daily.

Do you have a daily walking practice? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Benefits of Walking Every Day


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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.


30 Day Walking Challenge

One of the things I loved about my recent travels abroad is how much walking I did. The best way to explore new places is on foot, and I would spend hours walking with my traveling companions. My body responds well to that kind of daily exercise. And yet, when I return home, in spite of my good intentions to continue walking daily, I fall back into my old routine and my old habits.

I decided to challenge myself, in a way that encouraged me to walk daily while having fun and seeing some new places in my own area. The 30 Day Walking Challenge was born.

The rules of the challenge are simple.

One…walk every day for the next 30 days.

Fourteen months ago, the 28 Day Cleanse, during which I ate raw fruits and vegetables, shifted my life. I felt so much better and saw such profound improvements in my health and well being that I embraced a plant based lifestyle. I know what adopting a new practice for 30 days can do! I am curious to see what walking daily does for my body and my soul.

I prefer to walk outdoors, so rain or sunshine, cool or warm temps, I’ll dress for the weather and enjoy nature or suburban neighborhoods. If it is storming, or there is heavy rain, then I can walk at the mall or other indoor venues.

Walking has many health benefits, including improving mood, maintaining or losing weight, improving circulation, preventing disease, toning the body, improving balance, and boosting creativity. For me walking connects me with my body, quiets my mind and increases my appreciation of beauty and fills me with wonder.

Two…walk somewhere different every day.

Because I am easily bored, and boredom kills an exercise routine for me, I chose to add a fun element to the challenge. I will walk in a different location every day.

There are many nature trails and walking paths in my area. And I want to explore parts of my own city that I have never visited before. There are neighboring towns that I can walk in and three nearby states that offer parks and hiking trails.

I will do solitary walks. And I intend to walk with others. I’m excited to walk with my three grown children, along with their spouses, kids and pets, in their neighborhoods. I’ve been invited to walk along on a golf course. And I will drive to visit my grandson, who is away at college, and walk the campus with him.

This is day three of my walking challenge. Here are the locations I have visited.

Day 1: Wildcat Park, south of Joplin, with its trails through woods and along Shoal Creek. Walking in nature is so restorative to me, body and soul.

Day 2: Joplin High School Campus. Although I drive by this school, rebuilt after the 2011 Joplin tornado, I’ve never explored the gorgeous campus. Among the buildings, sports fields and parking lots are natural areas designated for water run off and collection, where flowers and ornamental grasses flourish.

Day 3: Cunningham Park, west Joplin. This park and the surrounding area was destroyed in the tornado. However, now it is a beautiful memorial park, in honor of the people who died and with gratitude for the many volunteers who came to help Joplin in the recovery phase. It was a soulful place to walk this morning…peaceful and yet with signs of life everywhere. There was a child’s birthday celebration beneath a pavilion, kids playing on the playground and even a couple of knights having a mock sword fight.

I’m excited about this 30 Day Walking Challenge. I want to see how my body responds. I am curious to see how I respond, on the first rainy or blustery day, when I feel the tug to skip the walk. I look forward to walking in new places and having companions that walk alongside.

It is a challenge…and I am in high anticipation as I meet it. Walk with me.