According to the World Health Organization, lack of physical activity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. That means physical activity is necessary to live a longer life. Everybody knows that exercise is healthy. But not all people are capable of certain types of activities and some just don’t consider themselves athletic. If that sounds like you then moderate walking may be a great alternative.

Walking is a great way to help the body stay healthy. While it is well-known that moderate exercise is beneficial for health and well-being, many people do not really understand the difference between walking and moderate walking. In the May 2009 issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, a study was published regarding what we could consider “moderate walking.”

Researchers determined that 100 steps per minute were adequate enough to achieve the benefits that come from moderate intensity activity. ( Based off of this observation, a beneficial exercise program would require walking 3000 steps in 30 minutes, 5 times a week.

People often think that they have to spend a TON of time at the gym, working on different parts of their body to see significant health benefits. This is not true. Moderate exercise has enormous health benefits. From improving mental health to losing weight, moderate walking can really enhance a person’s quality of life. Here are 5 major benefits that come from moderate walking.

  1. Stress and Depression – Moderate walking can significantly decrease stress levels. If you feel stress taking a toll then take a 30-minute vigorous walk. Moderate walking can quickly release natural endorphins in your brain that stimulates a “good-mood.” Because of the naturally released, happy feelers, many mental issues like depression, anxiety, and anger can be alleviated.
  2. Weight Control – With a healthy diet, moderate walking can help shed pounds. Stay consistent and strong-willed and the results will start to show. Don’t get discouraged if results don’t show immediately. They will. Recruit a friend to be motivational and encouraging if the benefits aren’t showing right away.
  3. Blood Pressure Control – In some cases, the cholesterol can be lowered enough to eliminate the need for blood pressure medications. For people with really high blood pressure, it can help sustain a more manageable blood pressure level.
  4. Energy and Flexibility – If exercise has not been part of a lifestyle, the body loses energy and can feel stiff and achy. Moderate walking will stimulate the body, and if the exercise is consistent, the body will begin to feel more and more energetic naturally. Also, rigidity and stiffness can reduce drastically as you consistently get moving.
  5. Sleep Issues – Whether the trouble is falling asleep or staying asleep, moderate exercise can help. As the exercise increases blood flow and circulation and relaxes the mind, then your body will follow suit, resulting in improved sleeping patterns.

These benefits are true at any age. In seniors, 150 minutes a week of even modest exercise can reduce the average risk of death by 30%.

Take some time to develop new exercise habits and journal about it. Writing down the walking time and steps taken while also keeping track of the mental and physical benefits noticed can create a visual timeline that shows how beneficial it is.