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The Easiest Way To Live Longer

The Easiest Way To Live Longer

Did you know that every minute you walk can extend your life by 1.5 to 2 minutes? In addition, many studies show that people who walk regularly live longer, weigh less, have lower blood pressure, and enjoy better overall health than non-walkers.

Ready to lace on your shoes? If you want to add to the amount of walking you do, just clip on a pedometer. That simple action actually increases your physical activity by over 2100 steps per day, a review that pooled data from 26 studies found.

Here’s a look at ten benefits of walking.

Walking Increases Your Lifespan

Walking more than an hour a day improves life expectancy significantly, a 2011 study showed. The researchers looked at 27,738 participants between the ages of 40 and 79 over a 13-year period. Surprisingly, their lifetime medical costs did not increase—even though they lived longer.

“An increase in walking time at the population level would bring about a tremendous change in people’s health and medical cost,” the study authors wrote.

Walking Wards Off Diabetes

Just thirty minutes of walking a day can prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes, a 2002 study looking at both overweight and average weight men and women in a population at high risk for the disease showed.

If you already have diabetes, walking is helpful for you, too. A mile or more daily cuts your risk of death from all causes in half, according to a 2007 study.

Walking Keeps Your Mind Sharp

Walking 72 blocks a week (around six to nine miles) helps increase grey matter, which in turn lowers the risk of suffering from cognitive impairment—or trouble with concentration, memory and thought, according to a study which looked at 299 seniors over a nine-year period.

Furthermore, walking five miles per week can provide some protection to the memory and learning areas of the brains of those already suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment, and lead to a slower decline in memory loss.

Walking Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Walking just 30 minutes a day, three to five days a week—even when the 30 minutes are broken into three ten-minute increments—has been found to significantly lower blood pressure.
Walking is Great for Bone Health

Putting one foot in front of the other for about a mile a day led to improved bone density in post-menopausal women, and slowed the rate of bone loss from the legs, according to a 1994 study. “It takes walkers four to seven years longer to reach the point of very low bone density, study leader Dr. Krall told the New York Times.
Walking Cuts the Risk of Stroke

Walking about 12.5 miles a week or more cut the risk of stroke in half, according to a study looking at over 11,000 Harvard University alumni with an average age of 58.
Walking Improves Your Mood

If you’re feeling down in the dumps, walking is a quick and easy solution. Just thirty minutes on a treadmill reduces feelings of tension and depression, according to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. In fact, the study found that walking lifted moods more quickly than anti-depressants did (and with fewer side effects).

And the more people walk, the better their mood and energy, says California State University Long Beach professor Robert Thayer, based on a study looking at 37 study participants over a 20-day period.

Walking Torches Calories

Just 20 minutes of walking a day will burn 7 pounds a year. The effects are even more dramatic when you add in some dietary changes as well.

Walking Improves Insomnia

Having trouble sleeping at night? Try taking a brisk 45-minute walk in the morning five days a week, and your sleep may improve significantly, according to research from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, which looked at women from the age of 50-74. (Walking in the evening, however, sometimes has the opposite effect—so keep an eye on when you’re exercising and what your sleep patterns are.)
Walking is Good for the Heart

Women who took brisk walks for three or more hours per week reduced their risk of heart disease by 30-40 percent, according to an analysis of over 72,000 women aged 40-65, who were enrolled in the prospective Nurses’ Health Study. As I reported recently, heart attacks kill more US women than men annually. However, the benefits of walking aren’t limited to one gender. A different study showed that walking can cut the risk of coronary heart disease in half for men between the ages of 71 and 93.

17 Responses
163305 tn?1333672171
I posted this here because during treatment I pushed myself to do only one thing~ get outside and take a walk. Some days, usually after my shot night, I wasn't successful but most days I was able to walk at least one mile.

It did help my spirits and I truly beleive it helped me recoup quicker after treatment was over.

We weren't made to sit and lie around. For your health's sake, including your liver, try to walk every day you can :)
Avatar universal
You are right and I have been increasing my walks daily. It is hard though because of the joint pain. Sometimes my knees give out on me and I worry that walking makes it worse. But that movement is something my body seems to crave.
163305 tn?1333672171
Start slow and gradually increase. Having good shoes helps immensely especially as we age.
Avatar universal
  I can definitely ride my bike easier than I can walk, but walking is also a good way to get rid of back pain, so I force myself to walk, several times a day.
   I think if I lose 10 pounds, my feet wont get so achey. I have tons of house-work to do, and all that
climbing up and down my front and back-stairs, is counted in walking.
  The main thing is to get up off our gluteus, and move around, like children will naturally do~
163305 tn?1333672171
Riding a bike is great however it doesn't do much for our bone health being a non-weight baring exercise.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the reminder OH!  I am going for a walk :)
190885 tn?1333029491
this is really good stuff ....i also liked the tree hugging thing the other day...love to walk....billy
2061362 tn?1353283118
Thanks OH, I too have been walking much more since I have more energy. Actually walking every day.
Avatar universal
   You have no idea, how many times I would repeat your advice about taking a walk, to myself, when I was at my worst, with my Triple Tx (well, now you know ;)
     When the Interferon, Riba and PI first hit me, I would have anxiety and
nausea, and I would take a small walk, and the change of scenary would help distract me, and the uncomfortable side effect would pass.
    I also had to take Procrit for 10 weeks, during my anemia.  I felt the
walking, and subsequent blood circulation,  lowered my risk for a blood clot~
   The walking was fine, with the low hgb, I just kept it very slow. I
wasn't able to ride my bike at the time, due to dizziness and brain fog, so the walking maintained my weight somewhat, although I did get much more flabby. Once Tx was over, I got back into shape very quickly
163305 tn?1333672171
Thanks. Hearing that my words help, make me feel really good !

Within days of getting out of the hospital after my transplant, my husband took me to this mountain side Buddhist meditation center. We took a blanket and lots of goodies to eat. I walked slowly, at times only three of four steps before stopping to rest. Slowly I climbed the hills, steps and visited the temples, stopping frequently to rest or eat.
By the end of the day, my legs were sore but it was the best thing for my regaining my health and stamina.
446474 tn?1446351282
Caveat -
Watch out for AC Transit and Muni buses!!! The 'end' may be closer than you think!

163305 tn?1333672171
AC is pretty good. They've stopped for me crossing the street.
It's actually worse on your side of the bridge :)

Reminds me of a story about bridge Jimmy. The guy jumped off the Golden Gate bridge in the late 1960s while on LSD. He survived relatively unscathed only to be hit by a Muni bus 2 weeks later that left him permanently disabled.
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