The Health Benefits of Walking for Cancer Survivors

“Walking is so simple that everyone can do it,” says Austin. “Plus it has tremendous benefits, from supporting a healthy immune system to boosting your metabolism to strengthening your joints, muscles, and bones—not to mention it’s amazing for stress relief and enjoying a little ‘me time.’” Here’s what else you can expect when you start walking for just a half hour every day—that’s less time than it takes to listen to one album on your ear buds!—most days of the week.”

Walking is hands down one of the best things you can do for your health, especially as a cancer survivor. Going for walks is an everyday activity that most take for granted, but the benefits of walking shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Cancer takes a toll on the entire body, and recovery often requires a balance of rest, proper diet, and activity. Walking is a simple activity that works wonders for the body and aids in the healing process. As you take steps to restore your body to optimal health, consider taking up walking and watch your body reap the following benefits:

Improved Cardiovascular Health

Walking is key to a strong, healthy heart. Your cardiovascular system supplies your body with the vital oxygen and nutrients it needs to function. Walking gets your blood pumping which helps work both your heart and lungs. As your heart and lungs take in oxygen, the rest of your body gets a boost in oxygen flow. Over time, walking can strengthen the heart and help it transport nutrients more effectively throughout the body.

If you’re not ready for high-intensity workouts or strength training, walking is a great way to burn calories while doing a low-impact activity. Walking can also be modified to suit your level of endurance. If you are just starting your recovery journey, walking slowly can help you rebuild your stamina. After a few weeks of consistent aerobic activity, you should feel a difference in your breathing and ability to walk the same route with more ease.

Prevent and Manage Chronic Conditions

Walking does more than improve heart health; it also helps with managing chronic health conditions. Issues like high blood pressure (hypertension), joint and muscle pain, diabetes, and high cholesterol all can be improved and managed by an increase in aerobic activity. If you want to prevent chronic health issues before they impact your life, start walking!

Improved Mood

On the days when you’re feeling down, walking can boost your mood. Walking increases oxygen intake, which helps the body release endorphins. When these feel-good hormones are released, you feel less stressed and more relaxed. Rest and relaxation are integral parts of recovery that walking can help facilitate. After your walk, take a few moments to stretch, rehydrate, and allow your body to cool down to reach a restful state.

Recovery can be filled with ups and downs, but if you are proactive about boosting your emotional well-being, walking can help ease feelings of depression or anxiety. The more you walk, the more positive effects you will feel.

Weight Management

Like other forms of cardio, walking helps you maintain a healthy weight because it burns calories. Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated to help you stay fit. Whether you’d like to shed a few pounds or maintain your weight, walking can help you reach your fitness goals. Getting serious about weight management will help you gain clarity on your health goals as you recover.

Improved Overall Health

In addition to these benefits, walking is linked to decreased joint pain, a lowered risk for breast cancer, and boosted immunity. In a nutshell, walking is good for the mind, body, and spirit. Make it a point to get moving every day and watch your well-being improve. 

Grab a comfortable pair of running shoes and head out to your favorite trail, or hop on the treadmill and walk to the sound of your favorite song. Whichever way you decide to get your steps in, know that each step is one in the right direction!