Many people are challenged by getting enough exercise. The thought of running or lifting weights leads to groans, sighs, and procrastination for many. But what if just moving your body a little bit helped improve your health? What if walking could help you live longer?
Data from an ongoing US cancer prevention study shows that walking can decrease the risk of developing cancer. What’s even more encouraging is that even minimal walking has been shown to reduce the chance of dying for all diseases. This concept is reported in research studies as all-cause mortality.
Here is where it gets interesting.
After studying over 130,000 Americans, researchers noted that those who walked an average of 150 minutes or more per week had a 20% lower risk of dying. Those who rated themselves inactive were 26% more likely to die prematurely.
Just walking, even when it’s below the minimum recommended amount, has numerous benefits including stress reduction, improved fitness, weight loss, and based on new data – a decreased risk of getting cancer.
Even those that walk less than the recommended 150 minute per week showed benefit. Researchers cited that walking at a pace to cover a mile in 20 minutes is considered moderate intensity can produce positive results.
Regular exercise, including walking, is a simple way to maintain health, preserve muscle and bone health, stimulate the brain, reduce stress and potentially live longer.
How much should I exercise?
Walking and exercise are similar to any medication; the dose appears to be the key. A quantity of a specific drug can help a particular condition, but the right amount produces the desired benefits. Another study noted that those who walk, even less than the minimum recommended amount, had almost half the risk of dying compared to their inactive colleagues. The study indicated that walking more than the minimum amount reduced the death rate even further.
Don’t underestimate the power of walking. Find ways to incorporate walking into a daily routine to improve your health. Try having walking meetings and using a lunch or work break to take a walk. It’s a great way to decrease stress, enjoy a change of scenery and still get your work done.
Read more about this study in the October 19th edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Am J Prev Med. Published online October 19, 2017