Whether you’re in need of bloating relief or just some good old-fashioned cardio, the benefits of walking are hard to deny. When it comes to boosting your health, however, the actual distance walked isn’t always the most important factor.
According to a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the pace at which you walk makes a difference too. More specifically, the research found that while walking at an “average” or “normal” walking speed of two to three miles an hour was associated with a 15% lower risk of type 2 diabetes when compared with “easy” or “casual” walking, both the “brisk” and “striding” walking speeds accounted for nearly double that percentage.
A walking speed of three to four miles an hour was associated with a 24% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, for example, while a ”striding” pace of over four miles an hour was associated with a 39% lower risk overall.
Of course, any walking is better than none, even if you’re walking short distances and at a leisurely pace. Studies have also found that walking for 15 minutes a day, at least five days a week, helps to boost immunity and combat sweet cravings.
What’s more, despite the myth that 10,000 daily steps are the “magic number” for improving one’s well-being, recent research found that walking anywhere between 2,600 and 2,800 steps a day has significant health benefits, with approximately 7,000 steps decreasing one’s chance of cardiovascular disease by more than half.
More recent research concluded that just 20 to 25 minutes of short bursts of intense activity can help increase longevity, while a 2023 study found that climbing stairs five times a day, which amounts to approximately 50 steps, decreases the chance of cardiovascular disease by 20%.
Also of note? The tremendous benefits of walking after eating in particular, which can help reduce heart disease risk, regulate blood glucose levels, and even improve your sleep. Not bad!
Translation? Get those steps in when you can—ideally after eating—and don’t be afraid to get creative with it. Your body will thank you!
Danielle Sinay is the associate beauty editor at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @daniellesinay.