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Walking is one of the easiest, most accessible forms of fitness, but it’s often overlooked. Walking has the potential to improve your mood, memory, and sleep, as well as help prevent conditions like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s an easy way to get moving and improve your cardiovascular fitness that doesn’t require anything except a pair of shoes (OK, and maybe a killer playlist or good podcast).
Whether walking is part of your workout plan or you’re just looking to up your step game, it may help to keep track of how far you’re walking or how many steps you’re taking — perhaps using a walking app. Some experts recommend aiming for 10,000 steps a day for general well-being or weight-loss goals, but any amount of walking can be helpful for your health. Just a brisk 30-minute walk can log you 3,000-5,000 steps and get your heart rate up. (Don’t want to go outside or the weather’s iffy? Consider one of these walking treadmill workouts instead.)
If you’d like to make your walks or walking workouts more intentional, it may help to use an app to track your steps or distance. There are plenty of free walking apps you can add to your phone that will track steps and distance, create workouts, and monitor your progress — and a few can even earn you some cash. Whether you have a specific goal, such as training for a big hike, or you just want to get more active, we’ve rounded up 11 of the best walking apps that will help you reach your fitness goals.
—Additional reporting by Lauren Mazzo and Naomi Parris