What Does Walk It Off Mean?

Walk It Off Meaning

Definition: To walk in order to feel better.

People can use walk it off to refer to trying to alleviate emotional pain as well as the more common physical pain.

Origin of Walk It Off

Walk it off is a common expression in the context of sports. Usually, if an athlete suffers a minor injury, his or her coach will tell the player to simply walk it off. This is because walking does seem to be a good, low impact way to stretch and relax the body, which can help to reduce pain.

However, if the injury is more serious, professional medical help is necessary. In such cases,  trying to walk could exacerbate the problem, like a broken bone in the foot.

There is also research that shows that walking it off, in regards to emotional distress, can be helpful. This is because walking can help to reduce stress. If a person is angry, it can also give that person time to calm down.

This idiom most often occurs in the command form. Because walk it off is only common for slight injuries, people sometimes use this expression as a way to say stop complaining because your problem is not serious.

The earliest examples of this that are readily available are from the 1800s. One of them pertains to walking as a means to cure gout, and another is about walking to cure restlessness.

Examples of Walk It Off

define walk it off The dialogue below shows two university students who have just finished class and are starting to leave.

Nisha: So, which class do you have next?

Alan: My next class is—Ouch!

Nisha: Oh no! Are you okay? What happened?

Alan: I stubbed my toe.

Nisha: It sounded really bad. Are you sure you didn’t break a bone?

Alan: I’m sure. I’ll be fine. I just need to walk it off.

walking it offThe second dialogue shows a father and son arguing about the son’s injury.

Son: Ouch! I got a paper cut!

Dad: So what? Walk it off. You’ll be fine.

More Examples

The excerpt is from an article about the benefits of hiking.

  • In 1995, Strayed had lost her mother to lung cancer, was separated from her husband, sleeping with too many men and using heroin. She writes in her best-selling memoir that her plan was to “walk and think about my entire life. I’d find my strength again, far from everything that had made my life ridiculous.” And it worked. Proof that you really can “walk it off.” –New York Post

This excerpt is about an injured baseball player.

  • Scherzer soon rose to his feet, but after attempting to walk it off fell to the grass once more as the medical trainer emerged from the dugout. –New York Daily News


The phrase walk it off means walk around a bit to alleviate pain.