Benefits of walking

Posted on 09 August, 2023 by Laci

Top benefits of walking

  • Walking for 20 minutes, five times a week afforded individuals 43% fewer sick days compared to those who walk only once weekly.
  • Adding 150 minutes to your walking routine can prolong your lifespan by an average of 3.4 years.
  • Walking for 30 minutes a day lowers the risk of stroke by 35% and Type 2 diabetes by 40%.
  • Taking 9,800 steps a day cuts the chance of acquiring dementia by half.
  • People who frequently walk have a 30% lesser risk of being depressed.
  • Walking boosts creativity by up to 81%.
  • A 2-mile walk every four days a week can burn 1lb (0.45kg) in a month.
  • Brisk walking or walking at an average speed of 3mph burns at least 100 kcal.
  • $330 healthcare cost per year is saved through walking.
  • The health benefits of walking are valued at $2.60 per kilometre.
  • If everyone between the ages of 18 and 64 walked an additional 15 minutes a day, the global economic output could rise to about $100 billion per year.
  • A $13 benefit is gained for every $1 consumed on building walking connectivity.
  • Congestion would be lessened by at least 10% if everyone would shift from driving to walking once a week.
  • More people can walk in the same area than can fit in a car—nearly twenty times more people. 
  • Car passengers are 2-3 times more vulnerable to pollution compared to walkers.
  • A 150-minute walk per week lowers 24% of vehicle emissions.

General benefits of walking

  • It is advisable to take 7,000 to 8,000 steps a day to gain health benefits from walking.
  • Walking for 30 minutes straight is just as beneficial as breaking them into intervals of three 10-minute walks per day.
  • People who walk for 20 minutes, every 5 days a week get 43% fewer ill days compared to those who walk only once per week.
  • An additional 150-minute walk per week can generate 3.4 years of added lifespan.
  • Those who walk for at least 2 hours a week have a 39% drop in all-cause mortality rate.
  • The mortality rate of retired men who walk for shorter than a mile is almost two times that of men who walk for more than 2 miles daily.
  • Brisk walking for 11 minutes a day or about 75 minutes a week can prevent 1 out of 10 premature deaths.
  • Walking for 30 minutes a day can reduce the disease impact of physical inactivity by 26%.
  • Inactive people have a 37% more chance of being in the hospital compared to active individuals.
  • Accordingly, they also visit doctors 5.5% more times.
  • People who participate in recreational walking every day for 8.6 minutes are 72% more likely to characterise themselves with better physical health.
  • You save $2 for every 25 miles you walk instead of travelling by car.
  • Walking can improve social connection. Individuals who reside in an area with only 2,000 vehicles in use per day are three times more likely to gain more friends than those who live in areas with 16,000 vehicles in use per day.

Health benefits of walking

  • 75 minutes of weekly energetic walks can diminish 17% threat of cardiovascular disease and 7% risk of cancer. 
  • Walking for 21 minutes daily minimises 30% of the heart disease threat.
  • Individuals who walk at a brisk pace have a 35% reduced risk of dying compared to slow walkers. 
  • They also have a 25% lower risk of having heart disease.
  • Adding 2,000 up to 10,000 steps per day lowers the chance of heart disease, cancer, and early death by 10%.
  • Regular walking lowers the chance of colon cancer by 40% to 50%.
  • An average 30-minute walk every day can decrease 35% of the threat of stroke and 40% of Type 2 diabetes. 
  • Every 2,600 steps added to your daily step count reduces your blood sugar level by 0.2%.
  • Women who walk for over 7 hours a week have a 14% lower chance of having breast cancer compared to women who walk for only 3 hours or lower.
  • Postmenopausal women who walk for more than 1 mile daily have higher bone density than those who walk less. 
  • Walking 5 to 6 miles a week can prevent arthritis. 
  • People who walk for fitness have a 40% less chance of developing new knee pain than those who don’t walk.
  • Using hand weights while walking can reduce the 17% chance of metabolic disorder development.
  • 9,800 daily steps can reduce the chance of dementia by 50%.
  • Walking rapidly at 112 steps per minute drops the risk of dementia by 38%.
  • Breast and bowel cancer women patients who actively walked had a 50% much lower rate of cancer recurrence.
  • People with breast and bowel cancer who participated in brisk walking cut their chances of dying by 50%.
  • Those with colon cancer decreased the risk of cancer returning after a duration of 3 years by approximately 50% by walking and being physically active.

Mental health benefits of walking

  • Walking can improve creativity by up to 81%.
  • Those who walk regularly and are generally physically active are 30% less likely to be depressed.
  • 75 minutes of weekly brisk walks can drop the risk of depression among adults by 18%.
  • On the other hand, 150 minutes of weekly brisk walks can reduce the chance of depression among adults by 25%.
  • 1 in 9 cases of depression could possibly be prevented if all adults walked actively for 150 minutes a week.
  • According to studies, persons who go for nighttime walks get 3% more deep sleep than those who do not exercise.
  • A half-hour walk over lunchtime made people more energised and more relaxed while working past lunch.
  • Children who walk to school provide better attention for the first four hours of the day.
  • Individuals who walk for leisure for 8.6 minutes daily are 33% more likely to admit better mental health compared to those who walk less.

Benefits of walking to weight loss and calorie burn

  • At least 10,000 steps a day help in weight loss.
  • People who take an average of 15,000 steps every day are safer from metabolic syndrome and are more likely to shed pounds.
  • Walking 2 miles a day four times a week can burn 1 lb every month.
  • 70% more calories are burned when walking on an ascent.
  • Walking a mile for a duration of 20 minutes or a speed of 3mph burns up at least 100 kilocalories.
  • Walking for 15 minutes reduces cravings for sugary treats.
  • Incline walks also activate three times more muscle fibres than level-ground walks.
  • Walking 150 minutes every week keeps your weight stable.
  • If you have already lost weight, walking 200 minutes a week is necessary to stop gaining your weight back.
  • Taking a 15-minute walk after any meal is found to enhance blood sugar levels compared to taking longer walks at any other time during the day.
  • Every minute a woman spends brisk walking in a day lowers the risk of obesity by 5%.
  • Walking briskly for 30 minutes thrice a week is sufficient to boost good cholesterol and minimise bad cholesterol.

The calories burned walking are directly proportional to the weight of a person, walking time, and walking speed. For instance, this is the table that shows the calories burned by a 60 kg person who walks for 30 minutes at various speeds.

Walking speed (in mph)

Calories burned









Benefits of walking to healthcare expenses

  • Walking can cut back your healthcare budget by $330 per year.
  • Walking yields roughly $2.60 of health benefits per kilometre.
  • In Australia, if physical activity is 10% improved by walking, this would have caused 6,000 fewer events of disease and 2,000 fewer deaths.
  • Economically, this would translate to an additional 114,000 working days and a $96 million markdown of healthcare costs per year.

Economic benefits of walking

  • Individuals who walk to work and home for 20 minutes contribute $8.48 to the economy in benefits.
  • If all adults aged 18 to 64 walked 15 minutes more daily, the world economic output could increase by around $100 billion year on year.
  • Every $1 spent on improving walking infrastructures results in a $13 benefit.
  • Improving walking connectivity by 10% would add $2.1 billion in economic benefits.
  • A walkable environment boosts rent by 20% and trading by 40%.
  • Properties that are situated in walkable areas are worth from 6% to 54% more than properties that are in less walkable locations.
  • Switching from driving to walking cut the roadway and traffic service costs by roughly 5¢ per mile for urban and 3¢ per mile for rural. 
  • Shifting from commutes to walks saves parking costs of $2 to $4 per urban trip and $1 per rural trip.
  • Every 1% shift from car trips to walking reduces fuel consumption by 2% to 4%.
  • People are inclined to spend 35% to 45% more on home and commercial building spaces that are located in walkable areas.
  • In New York, pedestrian plazas increased sales by 172%.
  • If all Australians walk for 60 minutes at least five days a week, it would yield an annual cost savings of AU$ 419.9 million.
  • Transitioning 20% of vehicle journeys to walking could generate £2.8 billion per year for the Scottish economy. Switching 40% could be worth £5.5 billion.
  • An estimated £438 million is generated by tourists who walk in Scotland.
  • In Wales, walking tourism is estimated to contribute around £550 million to the economy.
  • In the English countryside, walkers spend about £6.14 billion annually, creating more than £2 billion in revenue and supporting up to 245,000 full-time jobs.

Benefits of walking to traffic and public spaces

  • If all people switched a car trip per week to walking, traffic levels would decrease by at least 10%.
  • There are three times as many pedestrians who can move and walk in the same space as on a bus.
  • Almost twenty times as many people can walk in the same space as in a car. 
  • Walking is the most safe-efficient form of transport, covering only 0.8 m2 per person compared to the 9.4 m2 per person for a fully loaded bus and 20 m2 for a car with five passengers. 
  • Moreover, driving requires 100 times as much space as walking.
  • Walking is the most efficient mode of transportation for trips up to 400 metres.
  • The monetized benefit of walking instead of commuting to congestion reduction is 5¢ to 20¢ per reduced vehicle mile in urban and 1¢ per reduced vehicle mile in rural.

Benefits of walking to the environment

  • If a person switches five of his 2 km (or lesser distance) trips by car to walking per week, his carbon footprint would decrease by 86 kg per year.
  • If a commuter who travels around 32 km round-trip to work switches to walking, his carbon footprint would drop by at least 4,800,000 kg.
  • People in cars are two to three times more affected by pollution than pedestrians.
  • The overall environmental benefits of walking, considering noise and greenhouse gas reduction and air quality improvement, are worth 5.9¢ per kilometre walked.
  • 5 to 13 kg of carbon is saved per person per year by participating in walking programmes.
  • By walking to work and school, 17 to 53 kg of carbon is conserved.
  • 183 kg of carbon is saved through trip itineraries that reduce car commutes.
  • The benefits of air pollution depletion caused by switching from driving to walking are valued at 5¢ to 10¢ per mile for urban and 1¢ per mile for rural.
  • Walking for 150 minutes a week reduces vehicle emissions by 24%.
  • 3¢ per motor vehicle mile is the benefited value generated from shifting to walking from driving in both urban and rural areas.


Laci is a contemporary dancer turned shoe aficionado. She is the most knowledgeable person when it comes to athletic shoes, size conversions and details people nitpick about footwear. She keeps the RunRepeat content gears turning 24/7. And she walks 20miles/week.