Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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January 07 2014

17 Reasons to Walk More This Year

By Mark Sisson
111 Comments

FootprintsEven though some of you may be tired of me saying this, it needs saying. I say this a lot because it’s important: you need to walk more. In fact, if there’s one New Year’s resolution I think everyone should make, it would be to walk more. Many of you made this the centerpiece for your 2014 plans, many did not, figuring you already do enough. Nope. No one really walks as much as they should, though. That small subset of my readers who do walk enough should still read this post if only to fortify their resolve.

Why do I hammer home this point so often, anyway?

There are a few main reasons why I’m so fond of walking, also known as moving frequently at a slow pace. First, it’s all-inclusive. Absent debilitating injury or infirmity, everyone can walk. No excuses (unless you have one).

Second, the necessary equipment is right down there. See those bizarre appendages underneath you? That’s what you walk with. See that horizontal surface stretching into the horizon? That’s what you walk on.

Third, it’s the foundation for good health and makes life better. It’s this last point that brings me to the meat of today’s post: all the ways in which walking enhances our life.

Let’s go:

It keeps your buttocks engaged with the world.

A wise man once said that excessive sitting causes glute inactivation and atrophy. This is true, but it’s not like simply standing is enough to keep them strong and engaged. You have to walk, and walk often. To make sure the way you walk is actually activating your glutes, place your hands on each glute. You should feel your glute tense up a bit with each footfall as it accepts the load, and that same glute should tense up even more when you push off to take another step so that your hand gets a little “pushback.” Gallivant around like this, making sure each glute is working. Those buttocks! Ne’er-do-wells, the lot of ’em if you give ’em half a chance!

It modestly reduces body fat.

Walking isn’t going to get you shredded, ripped, cut, or yoked. It might not be as brutally and mechanistically effective on a minute for minute basis as other forms of exercise, but frequent walking will help anyone with two functioning legs and hip and knee joints that allow movement who would otherwise meld into the couch lose some body fat. That’s pretty cool, I think.

It improves glycemic control, especially after meals.

Just 15 minutes of walking after eating improved the blood glucose control in older people with poor glucose tolerance. Try to keep the walk as close to the meal as possible to aid in weight loss.

It improves triglyceride levels and lowers blood pressure, especially after meals.

Whether short (ten 3-minute bouts of brisk walking) or longer (one 30-minute bout of brisk walking), briskly walking after a meal lowers postprandial blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

It might help you live longer if you do it briskly (or at least presages a longer life, if not causes it).

A recent study of over 7000 male and 31000 female recreational walkers found that walking intensity predicted mortality risk. Those who walked the fastest tended to die the least. It’s important to note that this wasn’t an interventional study where walkers were coached to walk faster; this was just looking at the relationship between natural walking speed and mortality risk, so naturally slow walkers who resolve to increase their speed may not see the same relationship – but it certainly can’t hurt!

It’s well tolerated by people with arthritis (and could even improve their condition).

Arthritis patients have it tough on the exercise front. They won’t get any better avoiding exercise, but exercise tends to hurt. What to do? Walk. Walking is gentle, particularly if you perform it with proper form. And one study even found that walking (and weight lifting) improves balance in older adults with osteoarthritis.

It’s good for your brain.

Walking does much more than work the area underneath your neck. It also has extensive cognitive benefitsimproving memory in seniorscognitive control and academic performance in preadolescents (especially those who need it most), and (when done outdoors) boosting creativity in the young and healthy. The farther an older person can walk in six minutes, the better he or she performs on memory and logic tests; folks who perform poorly on the walking test tend to have reduced grey matter volume in certain sections of their brains. Aristotle’s famed tendency to walk as he taught students suddenly makes sense.

It reduces stress.

What do I do when I need to get away from a particularly stressful day in “civilization”? Go for a walk, preferably in a natural setting. For me, it’s the beach or the Malibu hills. For others, it might be the woods or even a park. Sure enough, going for a walk in the woods is a surefire way to lower cortisol.

It reduces stress even when it doesn’t.

A recent study examined the effect of forest walking on stress in young adults, finding that although chromogranin A (a biomarker of stress) increased, the subjects reported reductions in subjective perceptions of stress (which, remember, may matter more than “objective” markers). 

It boosts immune function.

Several lines of evidence point to the benefits of walking on the immune system. First, a “mere” 30 minute walk increases killer T-cells and other markers of immune function. Second, among free-living Japanese elderly, higher daily step counts correlate with improved mucosal immunity. Finally, among postmenopausal women involved in a walking training program, the normally deleterious immune effects associated with menopause were ameliorated.

It prevents falls in the elderly.

Walking on uneven, natural ground like hiking trails, improves balance and reduces falls in the elderly. “Walking programs,” which usually have elderly patients walking indoors or on treadmills as briskly as they can handle do not appear to work very well. Slow, unsteady, and meandering walks appear to be better. Don’t wait until you’re already at risk of falling, though. The earlier you start habitually walking, the better your ability to navigate the land without falling will be.

It gives you a chance to think.

When we walk, we think. And because walking is a low-difficulty endeavor, we can direct our executive functioning to more internal matters. We work through problems, come up with ideas, replay conversations, scheme, ruminate, and discover solutions. Or maybe we just think about that funny dog we saw on the way to work the other day. That’s a worthy subject, too.

It can be a kind of meditation.

Meditation is a foreign concept for many Westerners; we know about it, but we don’t know it. Even when we want to try it, having read about the benefits, we can’t quite muster the will to sit still for twenty, thirty minutes at a time. Enter the walking meditation. Do it formally, or just go for a walk and let your mind tune out from all the chatter. You’ll feel better either way.

It improves meetings.

Regular old seated meetings can be tedious, yawn-inducing beasts, even when the people and subject matter involved are interesting. Walking meetings, which are exactly what it sounds like, are growing more commonplace in the business world, and I couldn’t be happier. Seth Roberts found that replacing his seated student/teacher meetings with walking meetings was refreshing and invigorating.

It’s in your blood.

Your distant ancestors didn’t develop horribly calloused knuckles and brave savannah predators just so you could sit at the computer and devolve into an immobile blob. You come from a long and storied line of walkers. Keep the tradition alive!

It’s in your genes.

This one sounds similar to the last one, but it’s different. What I mean by “it’s in your genes” is your genes “expect” you to move around a lot at a slow pace, and walking affects how your genes are expressed. Walking has been shown, for example, to positively affect the genes responsible for fat and carbohydrate metabolism in skeletal muscle, to reduce inflammatory gene expression in adipose tissue, and to lower oxidative and inflammatory gene expression pathways in older adults.

It enables recognition of the felt presence of immediate experience.

When you drive, you can’t really focus on all the interesting stuff occurring in the world around you. Outside of what’s happening on the road, you shouldn’t focus on what’s occurring around you when you drive. Even riding a bike you tend to get tunnel vision. Walking on the other hand offers infinite chances for engagement with the outside world. See a rose? When you’re walking, you can stop and smell it. See a little path on the side of the trail heading somewhere cool? If you were driving, you’d have whizzed right past it. We all need a little more presence in our lives, and walking enables it.

As you can see from the bulk of the evidence I’ve just presented, walking can have a powerful effect on your health – and it doesn’t take very much of it. Most studies showing the benefits have people walk for ten, fifteen, thirty minutes at a time. That’s a lunch break. That’s parking in the last lot. That’s taking a quick jaunt around the block. That’s stealing a few moments away from your desk. It’s doable, people. You just have to do it.

That’s it for today, guys. Now it’s your turn. Do you walk every day? Do you walk “enough”? Do you plan on walking more this year? Tell me why, tell me why not, or just tell me how walking has enriched your life. Thanks for reading!

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111 thoughts on “17 Reasons to Walk More This Year”

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  1. I love walking, but not cold weather, so in the past I’ve exercised inside in the Winter. This year I decided to get out there & tough it out every day if only for a brief time. I’ve noticed a HUGE impact on my SAD! I’m not sure if it’s the sunlight (I often walk in late afternoon, so there’s not that much…) or something about the cold exposure, or just the effect of being out in the real world, but I’m MUCH less depressed this year than usual. I’m a convert!

    1. Even late afternoon you are exposing your skin’s light-receptors to full spectrum natural light, I’ve found this has a massive effect on SAD.

      1. There’s often not much exposed except my face! But I guess that’s still important. Also I *feel* the light differently– I find I look up at the sky greedily– & I often get to see lovely sunsets, definitely a pleasure!

    2. 2 things have helped me walk all year round:

      1) Dogs. They need to walk every day, forcing me to walk every day.
      2) Google’s Ingress game. It’s a fun reason to walk, and has forced me to take routes I wouldn’t normally take, so I’ve explored parts of my work and home neighborhoods that I didn’t know existed.

      1. Alas, my cat has absolutely NO interest in going for a walk outside! 😉

        And I’m not much of a gamer, but I just looked that one up & it is truly ingenious!

      2. AMEN, was just gonna say, “Get a dog” if appropriate… nothing gets you out at all hours, in all weather, toughens you up for crappy winter weather (some sympathy here, I live in England) than your furry four-legged friends. Or go completely insand and get two… like me. Dalmatians. Nuff said.

    3. I’ve also decided to start winter walking and far it’s going great. It was a crisp 27 degrees in Anchorage, Alaska today. I watched chickadees swarming around the bare tree tops, spotted a bald eagle, and managed to not get hit by a car while daydreaming 🙂

    4. Walking is the best form of exercise, in my opinion. It’s good for you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It clears your mind of all the junk of modern living that can build up in your head, which can have a negative impact on your well-being. It’s like a neurodetox. I live in West Sussex, which has areas of outstanding natural beauty, which is incentive alone to be out there walking amongst it with a sense of awe. You’re experiencing the elements, everything Mother Nature can throw at you, which I find exhilarating. You’ve got the flora and fauna to wonder at, too. Makes me wonder why people choose to pay a small fortune to exercise in stuffy, sweaty, germ filled rooms surrounded by lumpy narcissists. The same type of people who then go out for a massive curry, downing several pints of lager, completely reversing what little health benefit they achieved through their one hour workout. Lol.

  2. I love walking as well especially because for me it does release stress, and I am able to meditate. I definitely will make a conscious effort to walk more and achieve all of my Primal goals by the end of this year because I know that my ultimate goal is to undergo a complete lifestyle change, and I honestly believe going Primal will allow me to do that.

    1. Do to a health condition, I had to quit drinking completely. Not even a social drink could I have ever again. I needed to find something to replace that old bad habit! Walking was it. It’s been 2 yrs now. And I feel alive when I walk. I live by a beautiful reservoir. 4 miles. 60 minutes . Walking changed my life!

  3. My husband and I made it a (low tech) game this year. We each got pedometers, made a chart showing date and the amount each of us walked. If we get over 10,000 steps/day, you have met the goal. If you get over 15,000 steps per day, you can subtract 2,000 steps from the other person. You get ‘prizes’ for getting a certain number of days in a row of 10,000+ steps, and bigger prizes if we both get our steps in. It’s great because it’s competition and cooperation.

    1. I really love this idea!! My husband might actually go for this… what are some examples of prizes?

      1. Seriously? You have to ask? I know what the prizes would be at our house!

      2. Free things, haha. But if we both get 10,000 steps 14 days in a row, we can spend money.

  4. Would LOVE to walk more. Walking is the one thing I miss since the onset of illness. However I do try to take up the benefits of being outside by using my mobility scooter – and getting out to “walk” the dogs helps keep me happy. There are so many benefits to just “being outside”, even if walking must be removed from the equation.

  5. I’ve been walking hour or two every day. I just put a good audiobook on my phone and walk. Double benefit this way, I move more and consume more books. 🙂

  6. Thanks for this new walk info mark– I stand all day at my workstation but now I will incorporate at least a 40 minute walk at lunch (which I do in good weather about 2-3 times a week) but i can also walk the factory floor and didge the forklifts and other implements– it’s also fun to see the guts of what we do here at Electrolux!

  7. Walking is the indispensable center of the program that brought my body weight down almost 27% in the last year. I jog a teeny bit (I am afraid of out and out sprinting because of mechanical problems with my ankles) and I am lifting heavier weights, but my great joy is the NYC Bridgewalk. Williamsburg Bridge, usually, but also the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the Queensboro, and when time is tight, the modest and close-by Pulaski. I bundle up and do it in the cold when the sun is shining and the wind isn’t too much. And I find some of my most cherished memories are from walking through the East Coast cities I’ve lived in in the past. Great column, Mark.

  8. We don’t get the top 5 or top 10 reasons to walk but an exhaustive 17 reasons to walk. My favorite on this list is “It improves meeting”, I’m sending this to my boss as we speak.

    1. That’s one of my favourite things about MDA – posts rarely have a ‘top 3’ or ‘top 5’ but long researched, thought-out and highly in-depth pieces.

      I hate it when in magazines or blogs people’s advice on being healthy is cliche, unoriginal rubbish like ‘eat less processed food’ and ‘exercise more’.

      MDA tells us exactly HOW to do those things in practical ways. Love your work Mark!

  9. I’m so much happier now that I’ve replaced the majority of my gym workouts with long walks and this post confirmed the health benefits for me! Another thing I like about it (and this is very girly) is that I can do it without sweating and messing up my hair, I can do it in my street clothes (no spandex necessary) and it can be done sporadically throughout the day so there’s no pressure to set aside an hour for a workout. Great post!

    1. Yes!! Exactly why I love walking, too. And riding my bicycle for short jaunts – same deal. Not much sweating, no spandex, but I do have to put up with a bit of helmet hair…

    2. That was literally the conversation I had with myself today when I was deciding how I wanted to work out! Haha no spandex needed, and I got to wear a cute hat and jacket!

  10. I walk everyday here in sunny Southern Cal. I do feel sorry for folks stuck with the freezing weather. I bought a mini-trampoline this week and I love it – it’s fun and you can jog in place on it or do more vigorous jumping routines which will leave you breathless fast – like sprinting except with the core engaged. I highly recommend these if you’re housebound.

    1. I love walking in freezing weather. It’s very invigorating and probably even burns more energy.

    2. We bought a mini tramp a few years ago and LOVE it! Got it for the opposite reason folks in cold weather places might have one; in FL it gets brutally hot in summer and it’s easier to jog and jump in place on the tramp indoors when it’s too hot outside. We are seniors and the tramp is more forgiving on the knees and other joints, but we do walk outside, too, as you need some impact on hard surfaces to build/maintain bone.

  11. There’s a tedtalk by a woman who proposed walking for business meetings. It was a way to get moving for busy people but she found that the creative affects during those meetings were amazing. Lots of great ideas and better communication came at those times. Sorry don’t remember the exact talk, il post if I can find it.

  12. Pure Hapa:

    A friend of mine used one of those indoor tramps and managed to injure both feet to the point that 2 years later she still has trouble. Want to be careful here that you have good support/adequate “break in” time before going all out.

    1. Thanks. I already read something about that so I’m wearing shoes on it. I messed up my foot with a bout of plantars fascitis a few years ago on the Pilates reformer – TOO much stretching and arching the feet – no good.

  13. I walk / snowshoe 3 to 5 hours per week in the woods of Maine. For others who live in cold climates, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much warmer a good pair of snowpants and wool hat can make one feel.

    1. Makes me think of the saying “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” It’s all about the layers. Bundle up, get out, and enjoy!

  14. Presently I am a victim of the Polar Vortex so no walking outside for me today. Would need the ice cleats for sure. It is ‘warming’ up to 19 tomorrow so maybe if the wind isn’t blowing, me and my ice cleats can go for a walk.

    I grew up at the top of a hill in So. Calif. and walked everywhere. My mom who did not drive walked that hill almost every day and lived to 94. At 90 she could keep up a good conversation while walking up that steep hill and not even seem out of breath. In her elderly years, she said if she didn’t go for a walk everyday, her brain didn’t work well.

    My mom was a good example for me in many ways and her example of walking rather than riding was right up there.

    1. My mom is 90 and still going strong. She attributes it to walking two miles every morning. She goes really fast, too. I have a hard time keeping up with her when we walk together!

  15. I got a Jawbone Up last summer (not exactly primal, but hugely motivating) and it’s doubled the number of steps I walk a day–just because I pay so much more attention to how much I’m walking and running since I got it.

    Love seeing all these reasons together in one place. Glad to hear all that walking really does do a body good!

  16. “When we walk, we think. And because walking is a low-difficulty endeavor, we can direct our executive functioning to more internal matters.”

    It is no coincidence that some of the most creative minds in history were also great walkers: Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Bertrand Russell, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau — the list goes on and on.

  17. just back from hiking with my dog – its a balmy 11 outside – we just bundled up – it was great.

  18. I live and work in NYC and I have been walking between 3 and 5 miles a day for the past few years and I feel great. Mark thanks for your Great Blog!

  19. I love to walk, don’t walk enough due to the dark, cold, wet weather presently. I would still do it but for the adverse effect it has on me when I get too cold, perhaps someday that will improve.
    I went skating with my son on Saturday, there was a woman (63 yo) who was there to give those of us that don’t know what we are doing some pointers. She said it was a good idea to walk backwards every day. I like that idea, now to remember to do it on purpose every day, that will be the hard part.
    Thanks Mark for the reminder to walk more.

  20. I love this! I’m thankful for entries like this because too often what we hear from others is that we are crazy for walking, which is ridiculous! I always walk my kids to and from school, including winter, and all I ever hear is “I can’t believe you walk in this!” So, thanks for a reminder that I’m not crazy! 🙂

  21. I have a fitbit and they are doing a 2014 challenge where there is a new challenge every week. This week it is to walk an extra 2K steps a day. I thought that this would be a hard challenge, but I didn’t know how easy it was to just walk more, and how good I felt afterwards!

  22. This was a great blog post! I try to walk everyday but it’s 9 degrees outside right now! The local mall won’t let people walk there any more since this older person walking there had a heart attack and died. So, I just get on my bicycle trainer and ride 30 minutes a day until the weather gets better!

  23. I think that it is natural to be nomadic, at least for some of us. I felt truly alive when I was hiking the pacific crest trail. It felt wonderful to sleep in a new place every night and walk all day. It did not feel natural or healthy to do it for months on end, like the entire trail would have you do, but for a month or two it feels perfect, like humans were meant to travel on foot to a new place.

  24. I love my walks. I have 2 dogs who need a good walk twice a day regardless of my feeling like walking or not so out we go! They get generally 45-60 minutes twice a day and I’ve become an addict! The walk is as much for me most days as it is for them now. But even on the days where I feel lazy and might just stay on the couch they get me out and I’m NEVER sad that I went! I love seeing the day wake up every day, rain or shine, warm or cold. And it’s never as cold as it seems after you get going! I often walk with my mom or a friend or two which is great but I frequently end up walking by myself too and I love the places my brain wonders to when it’s just me and the dogs.

  25. If I don’t walk my dog at least 3 miles a day, I feel like I’ve let him down. He’s a great walking partner.

  26. Prior to rescuing our dog in 2011, I rarely walked for exercise. I was mostly a gym rat, logging boring miles on the dreadmill. My dog has transformed my life in many wonderful ways, including motivating me to get outside and walk. Now we travel 100+ miles a month, and we are both happier and healthier as a result.

  27. I always feel great when I walk! Does anybody know if gentle cycling has the same benefits? I do bike a lot for errands, and get a pretty consistent 20-30 minute ride in almost every day. It’s more practical for me since it’s faster — thoughts?

  28. Another great post Mark!

    I’ve been walking almost everywhere in the past month (average 13km a day) and it’s definitely been eye-opening.

    You notice a lot more around you and it’s like meditating.

  29. Ah, to walk in a rural setting! I walk home from Manhattan to Brooklyn via the famous bridge, and it is rarely a stress-free experience. It’s a madhouse of cyclists freaking out if any of the thousands of pedestrians steps into their lane, tourists snapping photos of themselves jumping, runners, and then those of us just walking home. But, it’s cool. It’s home. But, I do dream of a rural setting…

  30. I noticed a lot more people out walking on my lunch break today…I imagined they were all MDA readers.

    1. Haha! They are probably just the “Januarians” as I call those who start the year vowing to move, then lose interest within the month… gyms everywhere are full of them… 🙂

      But there is always hope, maybe you’re right!

  31. My grandmother, who never learned to drive, walked everywhere because she had no other form of transportation. She was still walking the three blocks to church at 100 years old. She lived to 103, but the last two years when she was no longer living on her own and walking daily, she went downhill fairly fast both mentally and physically. I attribute that to the fact that the staff at her nursing home wouldn’t let her walk any longer. Since moving to an urban area, I walk everywhere–to get groceries, go to the bank, library, gym, etc.–as well as for pleasure. My longest walk so far was 8 miles. I do, however, have to plan long walks around available public bathrooms. 🙂

  32. I go for post dinner walk with wife, at the nearby mall in northern virginia. its the only place warm and lighted in the evening. The cart vendors have come to recognize us nowadays lol.

  33. I agree with all posts regarding dog needs. If it weren’t for my german shepherd, I’d probably get glued to my computer for hours, but he wants to walk, and I’m grateful for the break. He gets 4 walks a day, we split 2/2 with my husband.
    Also, I am using a cool little device, Striiv, which you can see on http://www.striiv.com/products/striiv/ and that makes you earn points towards 3 different options to donate to charities, so that’s an extra incentive.
    Even if it’s bloody cold in Wyoming in the winter, I always find it magical to walk under the stars, so I bundle up pretty good, and off we go. I always feel great afterwards.

  34. Good timing! My challenge in the winter is not the cold, but the dark! I leave for work and come home in the dark. I was just thinking about how I feel I have been neglecting giving my dog the walks he loves (easy to get away with with an elderly shih-tzu) and decided to add walking to both my before and after work routines and enjoy watching the days gradually lengthen.

  35. I think I walk enough. I work at a skilled nursing facility and I’m a Physical Therapist Assistant. I run (sometimes literally) up and down the halls all day, and make all my patients walk, if they can, as much as they can on and as many different surfaces as they can. I’ve had patients say, “You’re walking my butt off!” To which I say, “You’re welcome, it’s the most functional thing we can do in PT.” After doing that 8-9 hours per day, I go home and either walk or run sprints. I live right across the street from an 8 acre city park and in a highly walkable neighborhood, so I take full advantage. I even do this in the summer when it’s 115 here near Phoenix. In the winter months when it’s gorgeous outside, I hike/trail run 7-10 miles once a week on top of the rest of the walking. The only days I don’t get outside and walk are the 3 days per year it rains here!

    I just want to add, Happy New Year to you and your great staff! I wish your New Year’s resolution was to publish my success story, I was told in October 2013 it was going to be put on the site but I haven’t seen it yet! 🙂

  36. I walk half an hour to and from work most days. Great way to unwind by the time I get home.

  37. Mark, this is such amazing timing !!!!

    Have been trying to pysch myself into just getting out a regular basis but was thinking that I’d be better off trying to run or jog. After reading your list I think I’m waaaaaay more likely to just get out and walk and I’m going to be happier doing it….

    thank you 🙂

  38. haha. I like the idea of walking around with my hands on my butt so I can feel my glutes engaging 🙂

    I didn’t know that tip about walking immediately after a meal… definitely something I want to try out in the next few weeks

  39. I walk 15-20 miles per week, but you are right…it only has a modest effect on body fat. So I started walking with a weight vest. I’m at 42 pounds right now. I highly recommend it.

  40. Nice beach pic. A shovel and will have to do for now, for me. Unless I want to snowshoe on over to walmart and climb the snow mountain.

  41. I live with my 89 year old, ridiculously healthy grandmother, and she walks all the time. It’s definitely not her diet keeping her healthy, she subsists on low fat, fake sugar microwave dinners and canned soup. But she is incredibly positive and happy and walks all the time. She had a physical today and her doc told her she was “too healthy.”

  42. Nice beach pic. Shoveling will do for now. Sometimes I want to climb the snow pile at Wal-Mart… 🙂

  43. I usually walk every day, about 1h30 outdoor all in all (not counting indoor sporadic walking). I sometimes mix it with a short run just for the fun or when I am late (not that I feel very much stressed by being late, I have a reputation for it which is well accepted). So yeah, I do my share of walking. I don’t own a car so that helps as well 🙂

  44. Those of us who live near a Wegmans store can pick up a Wegmans Passport. Each contains a set of hiking trail maps for the local town or region. Each trail has a marker – rub the marker with a pencil on the appropriate page in your Passport. Bring the Passport in to the town hall, get a Wegmans coupon and sometimes a prize like a water bottle.

    I did four towns last year, over 31 trails. Discovered some lovely trails (and some not so lovely), and some spots to come back to for wild blackberries and milkweed.

    It may not be Ingress, but it’s fun in its own way, and motivation to hike new trails.

  45. Walking more is indeed one of my New Years Resolutions. Like many people that commented I’m not one for cold weather walking, however I have a new dog and have been forcing myself to do it. I try to get about 3 miles a day. Having said that however I have not been walking in a few days as it very beyond freezing out. I’m just glad it seems to be getting back to “normal” cold here in Kentucky. One guy around me actually broke out of prison on Sunday, and then turned himself in to the police the next day to get out of the cold. HA.

  46. Great article! I’ve often wondered if it would be fun and primal to take a 15-20 minute walk BEFORE each meal – a way to kind of simulate the effort we used to have to expend in order to hunt/gather food. Plus it might help differentiate the ‘munchies’ from true hunger, i.e. “are you hungry enough to go for a 20 minute walk in order to eat?’ However, I like the studies you mentioned about a 15 minute walk after in reference to blood glucose so maybe I’ll try that instead.

  47. If you have a hard time keeping yourself motivated, here’s a tip: get a paper-route!

    I get up each morning at 5:30, walk out the door, pick up my papers (delivered to the front porch), and get to work. By 7:00 I’m back home: alert and ready for breakfast. I suppose I could pay money each month for a gym membership, but why should I pay for the opportunity to exercise when there are companies willing to pay ME to do it? The few hundred extra dollars I earn each month is just a nice added bonus to all the benefits of walking.

    90 minutes of walking each morning, 6 days a week, with NO excuses!

  48. Thanks for your list, Mark! Just the motivation I need at this point in my Primal journey.

    The hardest part for me is just getting out the door. I have to remind myself of how much better I’ll feel afterward. Once I have my jeans and Nikes on I’m good to go.

    Right now I walk down to the beach (20 mins.) most evenings to watch the sunsets but know I need to increase my efforts.

    Thanks again & Happy New Year! 🙂

  49. Thank u Mark for this article, during my LCHF journey these last 2 yrs I have been educating myself on the best exercise program. Needless to say walking was not a high point from what I read. In 2012 we were gearing up for a trip to AU & we knew there would b a lot of walking so we started a few months ahead in addition to swimming everyday. Needless to say on our 2nd day there we walked from the Rocks to the Opera House then thru the botanical garden into the city & back to the Rocks! To my surprise I didn’t die right then & there & my daughter was so surprised we could do it! Aussies walk a ton especially in the city. So we continued our new habit when we got home. Too bad my habit didn’t stick to b more religious. This article will motivate me to get out more! But at least I know I can do it…

  50. It amazes me how many people have a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on their car. There is a reason why the original marathoner, Pheidippides, died after he delivered the victory message.

    One of my med school classmates, a very petite Pakistani girl, completely smashed the knee cartilage in both of her knees after running almost daily for a couple of years. Not to mention endurance sports give you cardiomyopathy, can cause arrhythmias and even heart block.

    Walking is so human, we were meant for it. Born to run? Nope. Born to sprint, and short distances for sure.

  51. I have another one, Mark! I read about a year ago that in a study of the super old (people older than 110), the one thing researchers could find that they had in common was a daily walk. Some had smoked, drank, and ate a lot, while some were abstemious. The walk seemed to be the unifying factor.

  52. Would this work if I have a treadmill at work? Instead of sitting at my desk, I can take an iPad as I can work off it rather than my notebook and walk while attending to emails and stuff. Doable? I also need to make rounds around the production facility so that’s more walking.

    I read in the PB Fitness part that we have to walk 3 to 5 hours (?) a day with the exception of sprint days, is this set in stone? I mean, if I do this much on a treadmill, I can get my quota for the day? I’m thinking this is the only way I can get this much walking in a day.

    I appreciate thoughts and comments any of you have. Thanks.

    1. Randy,

      PBF says 3-5 hours a week of moving frequently at a slow pace, not per day. Hopefully that’s a huge relief to you! 🙂

  53. I am currently walking the entire length if the Trans Canadian highway. Started at st johns, Newfoundland and am currently at Seal Bay, Newfoundland.
    Jawbone Up measures my distance so I don’t have to.
    Just a virtual game but I enjoy plotting where I am on google maps and it motivates me to walk more…am even getting my boss in on my after lunch walks…

  54. I’ve been walking to an from work (total round trip of 8 Km) the last 4 days so this was a very encouraging article that I’m doing a good thing.

  55. A number of years ago in my thirties I began to walk with the goal being to lose weight. I was amazed by the comments I got after a very short time period maybe a month or two. I only lost 5 pds but by the comments I got, you would have thought I had lost 30 pds. It totally changed by body for the better. This was after having 3 children. Thanks for the encouragment – I’m starting again!!!

  56. Every morning, i put on a pedometer and try to get 10k steps (5Miles) a day. When the weather is nice, I usually do 12k and up to 17k a day working around the ranch. I work from a home office and get up as much as possible during the work day. The pedometer keeps me on track to keep moving. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to the cold so have to get on the tread mill when it’s below 40 degrees. Does anyone know of a good pedometer wrist watch?

  57. I walk miles sometimes for free food. Today I got 500g of both 100% dark chocolate and almond flour. Food bank boxes near the entrances to stores occasionally contain healthy fare bagged/boxed and ready to go, or semi-healthy fare such as baby formula (as do some hospitals). This morning I went on a restaurant run to pick up bagels and coffees for people in exchange for some Old Toby.
    The government is taking too long calculating how much they owe me for being certified crazy since the disability pension application went in so I’ve been working for my bonuses.

    1. Also picked up a little bottle of Angostura this morning and tried a few drops. It tastes pretty good. I think I detect nutmeg. I was expecting it to be much more bitter like wormwood.

      1. Got busted yesterday for trying to get Millionaire’s sardines in olive oil. I talked the cops into giving me a promise-to-appear for court by telling them they were for healing purposes (need protein, omega 3 and other nutrients to help my hand wound) and by doing some handstand pushups off the cop car to show them that though I sounded inebriated, I had my wits about me. I told them to look up MDA.

  58. I had a great primal moment on my walk this morning. I’ve been IF’ing to drop the last of my grad school weight, delaying my first meal until after 11. I took my “morning constitutional” at 10, and passed a kumquat tree that was heavy with ripe fruits. My analytical brain said, “it’s not 11 yet! Don’t take in calories until 11!” while my Grok brain said, “yum.” I went with Grok, grabbed a few of the delicious fruits and munched them as I walked. It was so pleasurable and simple!

  59. I’d love any suggestions on how to get walking more. I live and work in a rough neighborhood, and it’s just too risky to walk around by myself. Even in daylight. Moving is out of the question, the work I’m doing here brings more value and meaning to my life than safety/good health ever could. I can’t get a dog, I’m allergic.
    So basically, I can only go walking when my husband/ a friend is around to come along and it’s daylight. I work until 8pm most days, so that adds another layer of challenge.
    Needless to say, I get out for a walk once a week, if I’m lucky…

    1. If going outside isn’t ideal, don’t let that stop you. Is there a gym nearby that you could walk on a treadmill?

  60. Quote by Thomas Jefferson
    “A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprize, and independance to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks”

  61. Can walking in place give similar benefits. I work at a desk 8 hours / 5 days a week. 4 days a week that is followed by 4 to 5 hours of sitting a classroom for school. While I will happily get outside when I can to walk, will standing up at my desk and walking in place for 15 to 20 minutes at a time help in any of these same ways?

    1. Ideal would say to reap all benefits from walking you probably need to actually move. But none of us live in an ideal all the time, so if all you can do is walk in place, then thats something. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!

  62. I love walking. Every time a feel bored at home I just take my two dogs out for a long walk. I spend most of my weekend’s time walking and exploring the neighborhood. On workdays, If I get back early from work I feel a sort of physical stress and laziness in my body. Going out for a walk takes the stress away and seems to regulate everything in my body: hormones, power, temperature, tension. I always come back home in a very good mood and eager to cook, clean the house or exercise. I do believe walking has lots of benefits.

  63. I work at Amazon….I usually walk 10 hours a day picking items

  64. I love to walk but have worries that an arthritic knee will become worse. What is a good form of exercise that will not cause me further problems? I enjoy walking at a brisk rate but knee pain causes me to walk slowly…..does this slow pace help at all?

  65. Hi Mark great article!
    I just have two quick questions, I’m seeing people quote PFB on 3-5hrs of slow moving a week & was wondering if doing more than that is bad?
    Also does brisk walking fall into the slow moving category?

  66. I’ve been power walking/jogging for 26.5 years, winter and summer. My current routine consists of 80 minutes covering 9.5 kilometers, 8.5 of which is power walking at 4.1 MPH and 1 which is jogging (split over a number of 100 meter sequences). I’m addicted to my routine, and do it 4 or 5 evenings a week, usually just a little before twilight sets in. In the winter, snow storms may affect the frequency. My routine provides me with a large number of benefits, the best of which are weight control, blood glucose control, depression ‘remover’, reduction of arthritis (neck) pain, endorfin producer, and many others. If you want the perfect exercise which is good for a lifetime, try this, you’ll never regret it. I certainly don’t, and I’m 66 and a half years old!

  67. My brother recommended I might like this website.
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  68. I am 50 and walk on a treadmill, Ipod cranking, for 1 hour, 15% incline @ 3 MPH, twice a day, 7 days a week. I estimate I have walked well over 100,000 miles in my lifetime. I love walking and am in much better shape cardiovascularly AND physically, joint wise, than ANY runner I have come across. I agree with all of your reasoning listed above. Oh and I have the butt of an 18 year old man.

  69. Walking should be in everyday list. Walking has many benefits and improves life longevity. Walking benefits whole body.