What You Need to Know About Walking for Health

Do you walk 10,000 steps every day? Healthy expert Joseph Mercola, M.D., believes it’s a basic requirement for good health, just like drinking enough water. Your body is designed for movement.

Scientist and author of Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement, Katy Bowman, says:

“Walking is a superfood. It’s the defining movement of a human.”

Research has proven that walking two miles a day or more reduces the risk of hospitalization from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by half, and another study found daily walking for at least an hour cut men’s risk of stroke by up to one-third, not matter how slowly they walked. A three-hour long walk each day reduced the risk by two-thirds.

Conversely, scientists know sitting all day with little walking or movement causes your health to deteriorate. A sedentary lifestyle raises your risk of death from all causes. In fact, the mortality rate from sitting all day is equal to that of smokers.

You can do all your walking in one outing, or you can break it up and walk twenty or thirty minutes at a time. Even standing up and walking for two minutes every hour will improve your health status.

If you struggle with chronic disease, or if you are elderly, you may not be up to going to the gym every day. But science has demonstrated you can greatly improve your health status just by moving around. It is also worth noting that unlike other forms of exercise, walking does not tear down your body, so you don’t need recovery days to repair and regenerate.

Ten thousand steps is about five miles. It is a good idea to track your progress with a pedometer, or you could use one of the new wearable devices. Dr. Mercola walks two hours a day, around 55 miles a week. He walks barefoot and shirtless on the beach, in order to get plenty of vitamin D from sunshine. He reminds his patients that walking burns as many calories as running, just in a longer amount of time.

Walking is a great way to improve your health if you are out of shape. As you get more fit, however, you will need to add other exercise. Mercola recommends a regimen of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and weight training.