Updated: Jul 20
Ready to find out how 20 minutes of walking a day can change your life? A simple routine can help you lose weight, improve heart health, and decrease stress.
How Walking for Just 20 Minutes Per Day Can Improve Your Mood, Help You Lose Weight, & Boost Heart Health
Our lives are busier than ever - work projects, family responsibilities, and social obligations seem to pile up. You’ve likely heard of the health benefits to walking and exercising but haven’t found time to fit the practice into your packed schedule. The good news is that walking for 20 minutes can provide you with huge improvements, both physically and mentally.
While it might not be your first priority, taking wellness breaks - like going for a walk - can actually help you maintain performance throughout the entire day by reducing stress and increasing energy levels. Studies also show that it can reduce your recovery time at the end of the day. [*] [*] [*] This is just the tip of the iceberg - here are five amazing health benefits to walking for just 20 minutes.
Best Walking Shoes for 2022 [*]:
Best Overall Walking Shoes: Asics Gel Quantum 180 5 Sneakers
Best Value Walking Shoes: Tiosebon Athletic Walking Shoes
Best Lightweight Walking Shoes: New Balance FuelCore Nergize Sneakers
Best Walking Shoes for Foot Pain: Brooks Ghost 14
Best Shoes for Walking All Day: Ryka Devotion Plus 3 Walking Shoes
1. Walking Can Help You Burn Extra Calories
In general, walking for 20 minutes can burn 100 to 150 calories. However, your calorie burn will depend on the distance and speed you can manage in that time frame, as well as your age, gender, weight, and height. Your calorie burn also increases when walking uphill. For example, a person weighing 180 pounds will burn 103 calories while walking on a flat surface at a moderate pace of 3.5 miles per hour. The same person walking at the same speed could burn 163 calories going uphill. [*]
2. So...Walking Just 20 Minutes/Day Can Help You Lose Weight-Of Course!
While burning an extra 100 to 150 calories a day might not seem like a lot, it adds up over time. In one week, that’s an additional 700 to 1,050 calories burned. This is why studies consistently show that walking can aid in weight loss. For example, one study found that women lost an average of 10% of their initial body weight in 6-months by walking for up to 60 minutes daily. The participants weren’t required to apply any dietary restrictions. [*] You can experience similar benefits by walking for 20 minutes each day. If you combine the practice with a healthy diet, you’ll see results even faster.
3. Walking 20 Minutes Each Day Can Improve Cardiovascular Health
Research shows that walking for 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week, can lower your risk of heart disease by 19%. [*] You could spread those walks out over seven days and walk for just 21 minutes per day, reaching the same overall walk time. Still, it’s important to note that walking alone isn’t enough to protect your heart - read more on what you can do to care for your cardiovascular health here.
4. Walking Can Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Perhaps one of the best health benefits to walking is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, improving your overall mental health. Studies show that it helps reduce negative mood, anxiety, and depression. It can also help improve low self-esteem and social withdrawal. [*] You can achieve these results by simply walking for 20 minutes 5 days per week.
5. A 20 Minute Walking Routine Can Boost Your Mood and Creativity
Walking for 20 minutes can provide you with a natural boost to your mood and creativity, making it ideal for a quick wellness break. This is because it increases blood flow and circulation throughout the brain and body. This reaction then positively influences your central nervous system, which is responsible for stress responses. In other words, walking calms you down, leveling out any potential stress you may be experiencing. Additionally, studies show that walking can increase your creativity by 81%. [*] When combined, these benefits can help you to excel both at work and in your personal pursuits.
Not sure how to get started? Try walking for 20 minutes during your lunch break or directly after work. You can even walk on a treadmill while watching your evening shows or break up the walk into two 10-minute segments.
Tracking your progress can also be a huge motivator - use a weekly walking log to make sure you stay on track to meet your goals. The Fitness and Weight Loss Journal is perfect for helping you meet your overall health goals, including walking! Regardless of how you fit it into your schedule, there’s a multitude of health benefits to walking that make the effort worth it.