Walking every day offers a myriad of benefits for both physical and mental well-being. It’s a simple yet effective way to stay active, improve cardiovascular health, and maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, walking regularly can boost mood, reduce stress levels, and enhance overall mental clarity. Whether it’s a brisk walk in nature or a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood, incorporating daily walks into your routine can significantly improve your quality of life.

1) It’s good for your body

Research consistently shows the significant benefits of daily walking. According to the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine, just 150 minutes of walking per week can reduce the risk of major chronic diseases by 25 to 50 percent. Light to moderate exercise, like walking, has even proven to be more effective than medication for stroke rehabilitation and can be as effective as drugs for diabetes prevention and heart disease treatment.

In addition to these health benefits, a 2019 study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that even a small amount of physical activity, such as a brisk 20-minute walk each day, is associated with a lower risk of seven types of cancer. Walking also improves sleep quality, as shown in a recent study of middle-aged adults.

Dr. Jane Thornton, a family physician, emphasizes the importance of viewing physical activity, including walking, as medicine. She notes that walking strengthens the heart, improves vascular health, and builds lower body muscles while enhancing balance and strength. This activity is particularly beneficial for back pain, as it activates spine-supporting muscles, reducing discomfort and improving function.


Hospitals like Mount Sinai in Toronto have recognized the value of walking for patients’ recovery. Encouraging patients to walk, even with assistance, has led to reduced hospital stays, fewer complications, and improved overall physical functioning. This shift highlights the transformative power of incorporating walking into daily life for improved health and well-being.

2) It’s good for your mental health

Walking daily has significant mental health benefits. It can serve as a natural antidepressant during difficult times, as experienced by Duguay, who found solace in walking after her mother’s passing. Studies, like one from Harvard University, suggest that exercise, even light activities like walking, can mitigate depression risk, especially for those with a genetic predisposition.

Moreover, regular walking reduces the likelihood of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as highlighted in the World Health Organization’s dementia prevention guidelines. Dr. Saskia Sivananthan from the Alzheimer Society of Canada notes the positive impact of exercise on cognitive function, possibly due to increased brain cell growth, hormone release, and reduced brain inflammation associated with walking.

Research from McMaster University indicates that aerobic activities, including walking with intervals of higher intensity, enhance memory function. Dr. Jennifer Heisz explains that walking stimulates the production of BDNF, a protein crucial for forming precise memories. These cognitive benefits of walking are invaluable for daily tasks like navigation and recognition.

3) It’s good for your social life

Jim Button, a 56-year-old entrepreneur, faced kidney cancer in 2014 and later discovered it had returned, becoming terminal. Knowing the benefits of exercise, he committed to walking five kilometres daily. His walks evolved into meaningful connections, as he invited others to join him, including strangers seeking advice or battling illness.

Inspired by Jim’s walks, Dr Lisa Bélanger founded Walk It Out, a peer support initiative in Calgary where participants walk and share experiences. Walking is noted for its natural flow of conversation and its ability to shift mindset, undoing negative thought patterns.

Nancy Duguay also embraced daily walks, inspiring her community to join. Her walks have become a shared experience, fostering connections and overcoming challenges.

Follow these steps to maximize the benefits of daily walking

  1. Maintain an upright posture with your head straight, avoiding looking up or down, and keep your gaze about five meters ahead.
  2. Increase your walking speed by bending your elbows more.
  3. Swing your arms forward and back instead of across your body for efficient movement. Strong arm movement is crucial, similar to sprinting.
  4. Land your lead foot on the ground and roll from heel to toe. Ensure your footwear allows natural movement across your foot.
  5. Boost your speed by increasing your strides per minute rather than lengthening your strides. More steps per minute mean covering more ground faster.
  6. Utilize Nordic walking poles to elevate your heart rate and burn more calories.
  7. Incorporate intervals of brisk walking with slower-paced periods for variation.


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