Are there health risks to walking?

The health benefits of walking far outweigh the risks, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does recommend following reasonable precautions to minimize and eliminate the risks associated with physical activity in general.

Other potential health risks include:

  • Exposure to extreme weather conditions that can result in health problems like heat exhaustion, sunburn or frostbite. What to do: Plan ahead for weather. Wear appropriate clothing, use sunscreen, and keep yourself hydrated. Consider whether it may be too hot or cold for walking.
  • Exposure to air pollution. What to do: Consult local news or the internet for information on air quality levels. Walk during times of day when air quality is acceptable.

If you are concerned about the safety of walking in your neighborhood, visit our section on Common Pedestrian Problems and Solutions and review safety tips to improve road safety for everyone and for kids on the move.