What Happens To Your Knees When You Take A Walk Every Day

If walking daily is your favorite form of fitness, you're walking in a big crowd. According to Statista, in 2018, about 111 million Americans reported that they walked daily for their health. That's over a 9% increase since 2006.

While 111 million people is a lot, that's less than one-third of the total U.S. population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 15% of the population in all American states and territories were physically inactive as of 2020. "Too many adults are inactive, and they may not know how much it affects their health," said Dr. Ruth Petersen, director of the CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. "Being physically active helps you sleep better, feel better and reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers."

In the second edition of the Department of Health and Human Services' Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, health experts recommend a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderately intense aerobic activity. This includes activities, such as walking briskly at a rate of 2.5-4 miles per hour.

Walking for healthy knees

If you believe walking as part of a daily routine will hurt your knees, or worsen existing knee pain, fear not. According to The Noyes Knee Institute, your instinct to rest your knees and refrain from walking will actually have the opposite effect on your mobility. Not walking routinely can cause the muscles around your knees to get weaker, impacting your stability, which could lead to accidents. In fact, a 2019 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that engaging in approximately 1 hour per week of moderate-to-vigorous activity had a significant impact on people staying disability-free for over 4 years.

Moving your knees regularly is a way to get constant fluid into your knee bones and cartilage. For those with sensitive knees or starting a walking regimen, there are steps you can take to maintain a safe and enjoyable walking routine. For instance, rather than walking 30-minutes all at once, break up your walk into 10-minute segments 3 times a day. Walk on natural surfaces, such as dirt, or trails with small gravel. These surfaces will be easier on your joints. If you're overweight, walking will help you lose a few pounds, which will ultimately make walking easier on your knees. Be sure to buy walking shoes that are flat and flexible to avoid injuries (via Verywell Fit).

Now that you have no more excuses, it's time to get out there and start walking — for your knees and your whole well-being.