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Walking May Lengthen Your Life

Getting enough exercise can seem like a chore for those who prefer reading a book to running a lap. But findings from a large study suggest that, even if you can’t get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week, going for walks for any length of time may still do you good. The study was published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine and included data from 184,185 people participating in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study (CPS)-II Nutrition Cohort. These participants, who were 50 to 74 years old at the beginning of the Nutrition Cohort portion of the study, completed a survey every two years that included questions about how often they exercised and which types of exercise they performed. During thirteen years of monitoring, the researchers noted the deaths of 24,688 men and 18,933 women and were able to use the information collected from surveys to draw the following connections:

  • Compared with walking less than the recommended amount, inactivity was associated with a 26% higher risk of death from any cause.
  • Compared with walking less than the recommended amount, walking one to two times the recommended amount was associated with a 20% lower risk of death from any cause.
  • The effect of walking on risk of death was similar to that of other forms of physical activity.
  • Walking was most strongly associated with reduced risk of death from respiratory disease, followed by cardiovascular disease and cancer.

These findings are a valuable reminder that any amount of physical activity, even simple walking, is good for us—and the more, the better. Just think of it this way: if walking adds years to your life, you’ll have more time to finish reading all those classics.

Source: American Journal of Preventative Medicine

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