Walking is something most of us do every single day. But it’s also a significant form of exercise. Many studies have shown that walking is one of the easiest, most effective forms of physical activity for people of all ages.
In fact, a study by the American Cancer Society has found that even a little walking throughout your week may actually help you to live longer.1 The best part? This longevity-boosting exercise is easy and free!
The Longevity Study
The ACS longevity study found all levels of walking, no matter the speed or distance, were associated with a lower risk of mortality. So, if you think that walking that extra block to work won’t make a huge difference — it could be time to think again.
So, why do walkers potentially live longer? The study concluded that walking may help reduce the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, as well as certain other serious illnesses.2,3
The Health Benefits of Walking
Walking is a low-impact, weight-bearing form of exercise. This means that it’s not as hard on your body, especially your joints.
Yet walking does force your muscles and bones to work against gravity as you carry your own body weight, which promotes strength and balance.
In addition, here are some more health benefits of walking:4,5
- Boosts the immune system
- Reduced body fat
- An easing of joint pain or muscle stiffness
- Increased heart and lung fitness
- Reduced risk of chronic illness
- Helpful in managing blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels
- Increased endurance
How Much Walking Should I Be Doing?
According to recent research, people should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (equal to brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity (like running, swimming, aerobics) each week.6
For walkers, this can be broken down as 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 days per week.
Ways to Walk More
Even if you have a busy lifestyle, you should be able to squeeze in a quick walk most days. But if you’re struggling to find time, these easy changes can help:
- Get off the bus or train a stop or two early, and walk the rest of the way to work.
- Go for an evening stroll with your family after dinner.
- Avoid elevators, and take the stairs each day at work.
- Spend your lunchtime walking in your local area with coworkers.
- While your kids are taking a class or playing sports, use the time wisely and walk around the field or neighborhood.
- Walk around the office to see coworkers rather than sending an email.
- Kill time if you’re early for an appointment by walking around the block.
- Set the alarm on your computer to go off every hour or two, and take a walk around the office and back. This is also great for your focus and motivation!
You can also invest in a wearable activity device or pedometer to monitor your physical activity, and use it to see how many steps you’re getting in each day.
If it helps to keep you healthy – why not?!
Walking: Flexing Your Muscles to a Longer life
There’s no denying the health benefits of moving your muscles with physical activity.
But not everyone is able to get involved in high-intensity or vigorous activities… which is why walking may just be the perfect form of exercise.
After all, science supports the idea that walking may help you live longer — and it doesn’t get much better than that!
Just talk to your doctor before starting a walking program, so that you can best discuss your goals and current health state.
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