The Wonders of Walking

What Can Walking Do For You?

Many of us are lucky enough to be able to walk and to do so without thinking about it. For some of us walking can be more of a challenge. What are the benefits of putting one foot in front of another and why should we endeavour to make it a part of our daily lives?

The benefits of walking can be physical, mental and social. Keep on reading to take a closer look at just what these benefits are.

Physical Benefits of Walking

Improves heart health

As walking is a form of aerobic exercise, it increases your heart rate and strengthens your heart. It also increases blood circulation through your body, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your organs.


Strengthens bones and muscles 

By using your body you make it stronger. An added benefit of this is that strengthened bones and muscles will improve mobility and balance, thereby, reducing the risk of falls.


Increases endurance

The more you walk the greater your walking stamina will become. You may also start to find it easier to be on your feet for longer periods of time, such as when doing housework, cooking or shopping.


Helps manage weight

Having a positive mindset, body confidence and reduced stress (all mental benefits of walking) help us to make healthier lifestyle choices – what and when we eat, how much we move and how we take care of our bodies. By eating healthily and being active we are more likely to maintain or reach a healthy weight.


Prevents or helps to manage various health conditions

Walking can help to manage conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and joint pain and stiffness. It also reduces the risk of heart disease and strok

I was hardly going out and would only walk about two dozen steps and now I can walk a little further which is good progress.  Having a nice walk and a good talk makes me feel happier too

Move Mates Beneficiary

Mental Benefits of Walking

Improves overall mood and mental wellbeing

Walking boosts the production of endorphins, which increase feelings of pleasure and wellbeing. This, in turn, reduces stress and anxiety.


Improves brain function

Walking has been shown to improve memory and prevent or slow down the deterioration of brain tissue as we age. This is because walking increases blood flow to the brain, which is linked to better cognitive function.


Improves sleep

The increased stress reduction and physical benefits of walking help to promote healthy sleep. In addition to this, exposing ourselves to sunlight helps to regulate our circadian rhythm (our natural physical, mental and behavioural changes which follow a 24 hour cycle) so our body is more likely to know when it is time to sleep.


Increases body confidence

Walking can increase body confidence for two reasons. Firstly, in the short-term it enhances our mood and puts our minds in a more positive state. Secondly, in the long-term walking can make us feel good about our physical achievements and abilities and our physique.


Is an opportunity to practice mindfulness

Walking is a good opportunity to switch off from internal thoughts and worries and instead focus on where we are and how our body feels in the moment. By using our senses to experience the world around us and acknowledge how we feel within that space, we are practising mindfulness which comes with a myriad of benefits for our mental health.

I seem to have come to life since my Move Mate came. I’m going out every day now. I’m far more confident. I also went on a group walk. It’s been a mental stimulus as well as a physical one and I’m doing more of my hobbies

Move Mate Beneficiary


Social Benefits of Walking

Reduces isolation and loneliness 

Participating in walking can lead to social interaction with others. This can happen organically as we bump into neighbours whilst out for a stroll but it is definitely the case if we join one-to-one walking schemes or group walking activities – such as Move Mates or Wellbeing Walks.


Feeling connected to your community

Walking in our local areas helps us to see what is going on in our community and gain a sense of connectedness and belonging. We will see the natural changes which take place seasonally and changes to local buildings, structures and gardens. We might see noticeboards and find out about other activities we could be a part of, or at least get a sense of what is happening around us. If we walk with others or say hello to neighbours whilst we are out, we will become familiar with other people in our communities as well.


Shared achievements 

By walking with others we can celebrate our walking goal achievements together. This sense of shared achievements can cement our accomplishments and improve our confidence.


An opportunity to communicate

Walking provides a chance to talk, away from other daily distractions. The act of walking can aid the thinking process so it’s a perfect time to share thoughts, ideas, problems or simply to discuss the world around us.


Improves motivation

Having arrangements to walk with somebody else can help ensure that we do not cancel our walking plans. It can give us that push which makes us get our shoes on and head out of the door. A walking partner can spur us on if we are lacking motivation.

I like walking with a Move Mate because on my own I find it hard to motivate myself to go and I don’t go as far

Move Mate Beneficiary


Walking for Wellbeing

As we’ve discovered above, walking is great for our wellbeing in a myriad of ways: physically, mentally and socially. On top of this it is also a lower impact exercise meaning that it’s a safe choice if you have a health condition which prevents you from taking part in other forms of exercise that put more strain on your joints.

Banner image showing people walking

R is doing much better than the first time I saw her. Every time I see her, I can see how Move Mates is contributing to the community by bringing volunteers and beneficiaries together

Move Mate Volunteer

The benefits brought by walking apply to all of us. Move the Masses’ participants and volunteers gain equal value from the walking they do together – physically, mentally and socially. Please click on the links below to find out how you could get involved and reap the rewards!


To request an information pack if you feel unable to get out of your house on your own and would like to know more about signing up to Move Mates


For more information on our group Wellbeing Walks


For information about our volunteer Move Mate and Walk Leader roles 

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