Researchers have found that regular walking can extend your life. It sounds too good to be true but don’t be surprised if your doctor hands you a prescription to walk on your next check-up. 

According to a study published in June 2019 by Mayo Clinic Proceedings, people who habitually walk fast can add, on average, 15 to 20 years to their lives. Brisk walkers were found to have longer life expectancies, which was constant across different levels and indices of adiposity.

Participants with slower walking paces had shorter life expectancies across all categories of BMI. Researchers reported that women who walked more quickly had a life span of about 87 years compared to 72 years for women who walked slowly.

Men who walked quickly had a life span of about 86 years compared to 65 years for men who walked more slowly. That’s a 15-year average difference for women and a 20-year average difference for men.

Taking a brisk walk could increase your odds of living longer, and it doesn’t matter how much you weigh when you slip on your walking shoes.

Benefits of Brisk Walking

A growing number of research papers in recent years has discovered that brisk walking has loads of health benefits. Could this be the real reason why people that walk faster live longer?

When we walk quickly the body has to work harder. As we grow tired, we breathe more air into the lungs which oxygenate the blood. Bloods cells pumped with oxygen is especially good for the immune system.

Oxygen helps the body to create white blood cells which play an important role in fighting disease and bacteria. Breathing deeper also gets more oxygen into the brain and increases cognitive function and enhances mood.

Have you ever noticed you walk with a spring in your step when you’re in a good mood?

nature walks

Other recent studies have found links between walking and brain health benefits as well. While there wasn’t enough evidence to draw a concrete link between walking and dementia, the researchers concluded that the results warranted a deeper investigation of their relationship.

Officials at Public Health England (PHE) say the amount of activities people engage in starts to tail off after the age of 40.  Just 10 minutes a day could have a major impact and reduce the risk of early death by 15 per cent.

Harvard Health Reports 5 Surprising Benefits of Walking:

  1. It helps you lose weight. Walking briskly for an hour each day reduces the effect of weight-promoting genes by 50 %.
  2. Exercise curbs the cravings for sweet treats. A 15-minute walk eases tension and stress which typically leaves people reaching for the cake tin to feed their emotional wellbeing.
  3. Walking could ower the risk of breast cancer. Researchers found that walking seven hours a week or more could reduce the risk of breast cancer by as much as 14%. Again, this is probably due to the mood-enhancing qualities you get from exercise.
  4. Reduces arthritic pain. Walking has been found to help relieve patients suffering from arthritis from pain. Researchers found that walking five to six miles per week can even prevent arthritis altogether.
  5. Improves immune function. The benefits of walking at least 20 minutes a day, five times a week help to keep your immune system on top of alien invaders that enter the body every day. People that walk regularly have 43% fewer sick days.

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