October 15, 2021

Walking for better health - Small steps to improve overall health

Physical activity during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has called for lockdowns in most countries. As such, physical activity has been significantly impacted during this time. The closure of gyms and prohibition of recreational activities have led to changes in overall physical activity for better or worse.

Walking to improve health

Walking is a moderate physical activity that effectively lowers blood pressure, with greater effects in individuals with high blood pressure. Other health benefits of walking include improved fitness, body composition and lipid profiles. Daily walking also reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular events in the long run. Muscle and bone strength can be improved through walking, which reduces the risk of falls and fractures. In addition, walking helps to reduce stress, enhances positive emotions and improves performance.

Walking is a simple and easy form of exercise suitable for people of any age, with a wide range of health benefits.

The benefits of walking more steps

Recent data has shown that walking an additional 1000 steps each day helps to reduce the risk of death and cardiovascular diseases. An increase in daily step counts has been associated with a reduced risk of all-cause death. Individuals with greater step counts demonstrated a significantly lower risk of all-cause death compared to those with fewer step counts. Studies have also shown that walking more steps daily significantly improves sleep quality, helps to prevent cardiovascular disease, and improves mental health.

What is the recommended amount of physical activity?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, and at least 2 days a week of muscle-strengthening activity. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity includes cycling, swimming, walking a pet, and anything that gets the heart beating faster. Muscle-strengthening activity includes lifting weights or doing push ups.

Evidence has found that a continuous walking session of 30 minutes resulted in better health benefits and adherence than accumulated short walks. A greater number of individuals who walked continuously (67%) achieved the recommended heart rate range (60 – 70% heart rate reserve) compared with those who took short walks (38%). This suggests that walking continuously for 30 minutes provides greater health benefits and improves adherence in physical activity compared with accumulated short walks.

Staying active while staying at home

Finding time to exercise may be difficult for individuals with busy schedules. In this case, small amounts of walking every day is better than none at all. Walking is an easy way to improve physical activity in previously inactive individuals with little risk of injury, regardless of age.

There are many ways to stay physically active at home during COVID-19.

Some ideas to incorporate walking as a daily exercise while staying at home during this COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Cleaning the house, or doing any household chores.
  • Walking in place while watching TV.
  • Walking up and down the stairs.
  • Walking your pets.

Walking is an easy, simple and cost-effective form of exercise that poses little risk and does not require special skills or training. Taking more steps in our daily routine can go a long way in maintaining and improving our health.

Like what you read?

Let us know what you think.

Contact us for any comments and enquiries:

E: info@mediconnexionsconsulting.com

T: +603 7832 0188

Mediconnexions Consulting Sdn. Bhd. offers a wide range of integrated marketing and communications services related to the medical, pharmaceutical and nutritional sciences.

Visit our website at www.mediconnexionsconsulting.com


  1. Ding D, Cruz BDP, Green MA, Bauman AE. Is the COVID-19 lockdown nudging people to be more active: a big data analysis. Br J Sports Med. 2020;54(20):1183-1187.
  2. Mandini S, Conconi F, Mori E, Myers J, Grazzi G, Mazzoni G. Walking and hypertension: greater reductions in subjects with higher baseline systolic blood pressure following six months of guided walking. PeerJ. 2018;6: e5471. doi: 10.7717/peerj.5471.
  3. Murtagh EM, Murphy MH, Boone-Heinonen J. Walking – the first steps in cardiovascular disease prevention. Curr Opin Cardiol. 2010;25(5):490-496.
  4. Mayo Clinic. Tweak your walking routine for muscle and bone health. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/walking-for-muscle-and-bone-health/art-20457588. Accessed on 4 October 2021.
  5. Hall KA, Hyde ET, Bassett DR, et al. Systematic review of the prospective association of daily step counts with risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease, and dysglycemia. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2020;17(78). doi: 10.1186/s12966-020-00978-9.
  6. Wang F, Boros S. The effect of daily walking exercise on sleep quality in healthy young adults. Sport Sci Health. 2021;17:393-401.
  7. Han A, Kim J, Kim J. A study of leisure walking intensity levels on mental health and health perception of older adults. Gerentol Geriatr Med. 2021;7:1-8. doi: 10.1177/2333721421999316.
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Move your way factsheet. Available at: https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-11/PAG_MYW_Adult_FS.pdf. Accessed on 4 October 2021.
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How to be physically active while social distancing. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/how-to-be-physically-active-while-social-distancing.html. Accessed on 4 October 2021.
  10. Mayo Clinic. 10,000 steps a day: Too low? Too high? Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/10000-steps/art-20317391. Accessed on 4 October 2021.