How Much Walking Should You Do Each Day?

How Much Walking Should You Do Each Day?
Image: Getty Images

They say any amount of walking is better than none at all. While that’s true, a major health improvement requires more than the occasional five-minute stroll. So how much is enough? Here’s what the experts think.

Australian physical activity guidelines recommend that healthy adults do a minimum of 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity per week. However, that’s easier said than done when you’re already out of shape.

Fortunately, it turns out that simply increasing the duration of your daily walks – without any additional exercise – can do a surprising amount of good. (It’s also nearly as healthy as running.)

How long you should walk for

According to new scientific research, an average adult should spend at least 22 minutes walking per day. This works out to 150 minutes per week – which is enough to significantly transform your health.

In a 13-year study of older adults consisting of 62,178 men and 77,077 women, participants who walked at least 150 minutes per week were about 20% less likely to die than their inactive counterparts.

As the study concludes: “walking [is] the ‘perfect exercise’ because it is a simple action that is free, convenient, does not require any special equipment or training, and can be done at any age.”

There are many ways to improve your walking regime and get the health benefits faster: you could try joining a walking group, use these psychological tricks to go on longer walks and eventually graduate to ‘racewalking’. Or best of all, adopt a dog!

If you’re serious about fitness, you will want to introduce some form of body-weight or gym-based resistance training exercise further down the track. But as a starting point, a daily 22-minute walk is a great way to improve your flexibility, aerobic fitness levels and estimated lifespan. Start today.

The Right Amount Of Daily Exercise - For Every Fitness Level

Zero exercise is not enough. Going for a walk every day is probably a good thing. And if you're training for a marathon, you'll be on your feet for a couple hours of hard workouts every week. But what is the benchmark for a human being just trying to squeeze enough healthy exercise into their life? Let's break it down.

Read more

We will leave you with the following video, without comment:

[Via Business Insider]

This story has been updated since its original publication.


  • I had this debate elsewhere and got shot down, yet this just reinforces my comments.

    I walk to work. The distance is about 1.6kms, which I do in about 12 minutes. So 24 minutes there each day for loosely 25 mins. I also go for a walk to get lunch with most days being another 3km round trip. So another 25 minutes. Well above the daily average of 30 minutes a 5 day effort would work out at, yet I keep getting told “its not enough”.

    Yet I lose weight, albeit slowly, and keep adding new holes to my belt, so my waist is shrinking as well. That alone tells me the “its not enough” crowd is wrong, but the end result is that there seems to be a social consensus that walking isn’t good enough. Its not seen as exercise.

    From my perspective those people need to rethink their attitude. Many people that really need exercise need an easy starting point, and walking is going to be one of the best options for them. Its low intensity, does get results, and is something you can do with minimal set up. Just pick a direction and walk.

    That gets missed I think. Put the expectation on needing to do more rigorous exercise to start, and those that need it the most will put it in the too hard basket. It should be the opposite where they do the simple alternative for a while, see results, and be inspired to do more. Then move on to more rigorous and time efficient options.

    • It’s not enough ?
      Compared to what ?
      What are your peers trying to compare your current exercise to, because there’s different outcomes. Weight loss, general fitness, heart health, increasing body mass (muscle), the list is more than singular option.

      Two things to bear in mind:
      The exercise value set per day, is the minimum value.
      If you’re already exceeding that, then good on you, and unless you suddenly decide to walk around the perimeter of Australia or get hit by a car, only good things will happen for you.
      However, for a mother looking after a family and husband, the target has to be low enough to seem achievable, otherwise she will simply give up, and realistically, that’s who the target is set for.

      Secondly, exercise is simply an amplifier.
      The real fight is in the kitchen, and it’s a common saying “You can’t out exercise a bad diet”.
      If (and I make no assumptions here) you were looking to make more progress, and had not previously considered this, the result from a sensible tailored diet may surprise you (as well as your peers).
      I’ll leave it to you to find a fittingly smug reply when they tell you how all that extra exercise paid off, and you calmly mention it was the same 3.2km average as before.
      Place cushions on the floor to protect jaws.

      Your audience also seems to lack some basic physiological knowledge, as it can differ depending on your body type – endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph, on how efficiently body weight is lost/gained.
      This will help in expectations as well defining what, if any additional exercise(s) you might want to do.

      Rather than me bore you in explaining, best to look these up on Google where more knowledgeable people can illuminate you, should you want to know more about your body type or are looking to get into body building.

      I hope this hasn’t come across as preachy, my brother had to endure the same criticism for years. He’s now very large and muscular, and people will cross the street to avoid him, in case he decides to eat them as a snack.

      Aim for progress, not perfection, and good luck.

      • Aim for progress, not perfection, and good luck. I do. Thanks for the words, they reinforce what I was trying to say. Anything is better than nothing. I know my body well enough to know whats working and what isnt, and the basic walking I get into every day works.

        I’m not massively overweight when you look at me, but my BMI says I’m obese – 1.85m x 104kgs. I just have a stocky build and am barrel chested. Even my GP says I really only need to lose about 5kgs, and if thats the target, it suggests I’m not really in any risk range.

        Some people just carry a lot of weight naturally. Was just a reflection of the social beliefs out there that walking isnt good enough, when it is. You burn as many calories walking a km as you do running it, you just do it over a longer time period. Thats something most people cant believe but if those trying to start out realised that, they’d be far happier just walking.

        FYI, thats backed up with a simple google. 80-160 calories walking a mile versus 300-400 burned running 30 minutes at 10 minute/mile pace. So 100-140 per mile. Broadly the same.

        And you’re right about the diet. Thats where my biggest battle is. I’m diabetic, hence the interest in getting the weight down, and while I do cook more than I used to, I could do better. I know that, and am doing better, I just need to change a couple of things and I’ll be fine. I just hit a weight range around the high 90’s and dont seem to go lower.

        I’m not majorly diabetic, and the only measure that ever comes back as trouble is blood sugar, and even then its normally just over the target goal anyway, so its not out of control.

  • With all the articles about sex I scrolled through before getting to this one, I misread the title. Now I’m wondering if a 22-minute wank is good for my health…

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!