Home About AllHealth Website Sitemap Contact Us
All Health 
You are here: Home > Old Medical Ref > Old Special Topics Finder > walking and health


walking and health

Alternative Names
physical activity and health, physical fitness and health

What is the information for this topic?
Walking is an excellent way to improve health. Walking at a brisk pace increases the heart rate and improves overall physical fitness. People who engage in physical activity have a lower likelihood of getting many serious diseases. A sedentary lifestyle doubles the risk of having a heart attack, which is the number one killer of Australian men and women.

Individuals who participate in an enjoyable, regular physical activity like walking can improve their overall quality of life. The benefits of walking include:
  • reduced risk of heart attack and stroke
  • reduced risk of obesity
  • reduced risk of high blood pressure
  • reduced risk of diabetes
  • reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • reduced risk of depression and anxiety
  • increased energy
  • increased self-confidence and sense of well being
  • increased ability to move and function with ageing
  • decreased stress
To achieve the health benefits of walking, adults should ideally get a total of 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise, like walking on most days of the week.

Even walking for 10 minutes at a time can improve your health if it is done on a regular basis.

The "talk test" is a way to keep track of the intensity of a walking workout. A person should comfortably be able to carry on a conversation while walking. If he or she is too winded to complete a sentence or gasps for air every few words, the pace is too fast. The person should slow down to a more comfortable speed. An advantage of walking is that it is convenient and inexpensive. The only equipment needed to start walking is a good pair of running or walking shoes and comfortable clothing. During bad weather, many people walk in indoor shopping malls or on treadmills.

Over half of the people who begin an activity program such as walking drop out within 6 months. Many quit within the first month. Individuals are more likely to make walking a regular part of their lives if they:
  • make walking a fun activity
  • walk with a partner or group
  • walk in safe, attractive neighbourhoods or parks, or on trails
  • start out slowly to avoid injury or burnout
  • include walking in everyday activitie
  • s
  • set specific goals
  • keep track of progress
  • learn from setbacks and stick with it
Individuals beginning a walking program should check with their doctor first. Following a gradual approach to walking will help to get the most benefits with the fewest risks.

Author: Minot Cleveland, MD
Reviewer: HealthAnswers Australia Medical Review Panel
Editor: Dr David Taylor, Chief Medical Officer HealthAnswers Australia
Last Updated: 1/10/2001
Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request

This website and article is not a substitute for independent professional advice. Nothing contained in this website is intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.  All Health and any associated parties do not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information.


Back Email a Friend View Printable Version Bookmark This Page


eknowhow | The World's Best Websites
    Privacy Policy and Disclaimer