Walking — Good for the Planet and Good for You — Benefits

Walking is good for the planet and good for you. Walking is a green thing to do and has many environmental benefits. It uses renewable energy—YOU. Walking is good for both your physical and mental well-being.

I like walking and wanted to learn more about the benefits and ways to add more walking into my own routine so decided to do additional research and write several posts on the topic.

On an intellectual level, most of us know that walking helps keep us healthy and is a green transportation alternative to cars. But do we translate that into actual behavior and do it? Perhaps a refresher of the benefits would give us a little nudge.

It’s Green

According to a 2011 U.S. EPA report, the average gasoline passenger vehicle gets about 21 miles per gallon and drives around 12,000 miles a year. Driving 1 mile emits 423 grams of CO2 for a grand total of 5.1 metric tons emitted in 1 year by just 1 vehicle. Granted not everyone drives 12,000 miles a year, and some people drive electric or hybrid vehicles that achieve better gas mileage. But you get the picture. That is a lot of CO2 (greenhouse gases)!

Power PlantA person walking 1 mile emits virtually 0 grams of CO2 so imagine how much CO2 you can avoid putting into the atmosphere by walking more.

Most vehicles run on non-renewable fossil fuels or are powered by electricity produced in plants powered by non-renewable fossil fuels. Non-renewable means just that, there is a limited supply.

Walking uses renewable energy—YOU.

It’s Healthy

Many health experts say, if you do no other exercise, walk for at least 30 minutes every dayWalking helps strengthen bones, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, and burn calories. Don’t discount the positive impact walking can have on your mental well-being too.

Scale with Tape Measure and FruitWalking burns calories and helps you lose weight and then maintain it. If you do the recommended minimum of walking 30 minutes a day, you can lose 1 pound in less than a month and over 15 pounds in a year. Yes, just by walking. How does it work?

  • A person can burn somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 calories per mile (depending on weight, stride length, pace, terrain).
  • It takes about 20 minutes give or take for a person to walk 1 mile, so in an hour that is 3 miles or 300 calories. Divide by 2 and you get 150 calories for 30 minutes of walking.
  • It takes 3,500 calories to burn 1 pound of fat.
  • So…if you walk 30 minutes a day and burn 150 calories per day, in 23.3 days you will have burned 3,500 calories and potentially lost 1 pound (3,500 ÷ 150 = 23.3). In a year, that is 15.6 pounds (365 days x 150 calories = 54,750 ÷ 3,500 calories per pound = 15.6 pounds).

It’s Free

Walking is free!

Walking may also be good for your wallet. For example, if you walk to the store instead of driving, knowing you have to carry your purchases home may cut down on impulse buys. Or by getting up and walking around during TV commercials, you won’t see things that you don’t need but then must have.

It’s Quality Time

Spend quality time with yourself, friends and family. Slowing down and walking allows you to be present with the people you are with and see and enjoy what is around you.

Let’s Get Walking

Most people aren’t opposed to reducing greenhouse gases, losing weight, things that are free, or quality time with friends and family so let’s get walking.

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Author: Linda Poppenheimer

Linda researches and writes about environmental topics to share information and to spark conversation. Her mission is to live more lightly on Earth and to persuade everyone else to do the same.

2 thoughts on “Walking — Good for the Planet and Good for You — Benefits”

  1. I particularly appreciate your facts about calories burned and the cumulative loss of weight over a year simply by walking at least 30 minutes a day. Dieting has never been popular with me but using walking as a means to losing as much as 15 lbs per year is a real eye opener and an incentive.
    Thanks for the insight.


  2. Technical Consultant Correction:
    When the author found out that a typical car creates ~423 grams of CO2 per mile driven, she asked me if I knew how to figure out how many grams of CO2 a human produces walking a mile, (burning that 100 calories ((K-calories actually))). After a little math I told her 300-400 milligrams, (0.3 grams) however after thinking about it, I realized I’d made an order of magnitude error… it was really 3 to 4 grams of CO2, not 0.3-0.4 grams. Still driving a car produces over 100 times as much carbon as walking the same distance.
    Oops, sorry?

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