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Benefits of Walking

Many doctors and other health professionals cite moderate physical activity, including walking, as a “magic pill” for excellent health. It can maintain the body’s systems in good condition and reduce the risk of chronic illness.

Good health is not the only benefit of walking. In fact, there is a broad range of individual and community benefits that accrue when people walk more often and when communities are designed to make walking safe, enjoyable, and convenient.

Safety Benefits: Walkable neighborhoods have much lower rates of traffic fatalities – for both pedestrians and motorists – compared with automobile-oriented areas.

Health Benefits: Fewer than 50% of Americans meet the minimum guidelines for moderate physical activity – walking is the easiest and most affordable way to correct this problem.

Social Equity Benefits: Low-income families are more reliant on walking for essential journeys than the middle class, and yet low-cost housing is often located in the most car-dependent places.

Environmental Benefits: Transportation is responsible for one third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions – converting short driving journeys to walking journeys is reducing this impact significantly.

Transportation Benefits: One quarter of all trips in the U.S. are 1 mile or less, and yet most of these trips are taken by car – increasing walking reduces traffic congestion and the cost of road maintenance.

Economic Benefits: The average household cost to own and operate one car in the U.S. is $9,000 per year – walkable neighborhoods allow families to own fewer cars and save money.

The fact sheets were produced by America Walks in partnership with Sam Schwartz Engineering.  For further information on this partnership and the original Walk Steps project, Click Here.

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Benefits of Walking

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Search our resources for citizens and local groups, organized under advocacy topics such as building partnerships, developing campaigns, and finding funding.

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Your Stories

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