When you do it enough and consistently, walking can help you lose weight and gain strength in your lower body and back, and a new study even found that walking 10 minutes a day can have life-improving effects.
That’s not all that walking is great for. It can also boost cardiovascular health and immunity, defend against depression, and aid in cognitive functions.
As you’ll see below, walking is also one of the best and most accessible life extenders, considering it protects your heart, brain, muscles, lungs, bones and more. Recent research suggests that just 10 to 30 minutes of walking every day is adequate for both extending your life span and improving your quality of life.
Study Findings: Walking 10 Minutes a Day
Is 10 minutes a day enough exercise? According to a 2022 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, it’s a great start and can certainly help prevent some of the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
The study, entitled “Estimated Number of Deaths Prevented Through Increased Physical Activity Among US Adults,” sought to determine the importance of physical activity in preventing premature deaths. Based on the study’s findings, researchers estimated that if every adult between 40 and 85 years old walked briskly or did another equivalent type of exercise for 10 additional minutes per day, 111,174 deaths tied to inactivity could be prevented each year.
This number equates to about 7 percent of all deaths among adults in a typical year.
While 10 extra minutes of daily exercise offers life-saving benefits, more appears to be even better. Researchers also estimated the positive effects that an extra 20 minutes a day of exercise could have as well as an extra 30 minutes.
Adding 20 extra minutes of walking or exercise to American adults’ routines could save an estimated 209,459 people from dying early, while 30 extra minutes a day was estimated to prevent 272,297 premature deaths (17 percent of annual total deaths).
Overall, the addition of 10, 20 or 30 minutes of walking or exercise per day among Americans was associated with a 6.9%, 13.0% and 16.9% decrease, respectively, in the number of deaths per year. Researchers believe that men and women, as well as adults of different ethnicities, could all benefit equally from more walking and physical activity.
Other Benefits of Walking
Why is it good to walk 10 minutes every day (and ideally 10 minutes during every waking hour)? Getting up and taking a walk helps boost circulation, aids in digestion and detoxification, and even lifts your mood.
Many experts consider walking to be one of the most versatile, easiest and cheapest forms of moderate exercise, available to just about everyone for free and without any equipment. It’s a great way to meet the recommendation for 150 minutes of total weekly exercise.
A number of large studies have found that people who walk most days of the week — meaning anywhere from 7,500 to 12,000 daily steps — tend to have healthier body compositions, lower BMIs and reduced risk for common health problems, such as:
- Coronary heart disease and other cardiac events
- Metabolic syndrome
- Poor muscle strength
- Bone loss
- Lack of focus and brain fog
- Breathing problems
- Falls and injuries
Squeezing in more steps throughout your day doesn’t have to be very time-consuming or inconvenient. You can add more activity to your week by not only taking intentional walks, but by adding more everyday movement via taking the stairs, parking farther away from your destination, taking “walking meetings” at work and so on.
How many calories do you burn walking for 10 minutes (either in place or outside)?
This depends on your speed and body size. It can range from about 40 to 60 calories.
While this might not seem like much, if you take several short walks per day or one walk that’s longer, you’ll burn hundreds of calories every week that may help protect against weight gain.
- Is walking 10 minutes a day enough? Yes, a recent study suggests walking 10 minutes a day is enough to reduce the risk for early death. It’s also been shown to fight other problems, like heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline and depression.
- In one recent study, researchers estimated that approximately 110,000 deaths per year could be prevented if U.S. adults aged 40 to 85 years or older walked just 10 minutes per day or more.
- To increase your daily steps and quality of life, try sneaking in more activity throughout your day, ideally intentionally exercising more intensely as well.