If you want to live as long as possible, then you need to get adequate physical exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot on fitness equipment or officially join the gym; however, you can add a short, brisk walk in every day and increase your lifespan.
Recent research, published in PLoS Medicine revealed that an 11-minute walk each day could add up to 2 years to your life. Another study conducted at the University of Sydney found that trading an hour of sitting for an hour of walking each day can decrease your risk of premature death by about 15%, or add about 9-10 years to your life.
If the results of these studies aren’t convincing enough, here are 4 major benefits to walking each day that might change your mind.
1. Walking can counteract the harmful effects of sitting.
By now you have probably heard that sitting for extended periods of time can be detrimental to your health and put you at an increased risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health problems. But, all it takes is a short walk each day to counteract the harmful effects of sitting and improve your odds. For people who sit at their desk for 6 consecutive hours, all it takes is a 10-minute walk to reverse the harmful effects. For best results, researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine recommend that you stretch your legs for a couple of minutes each hour. They found that a 2-minute walk for each hour of sitting decreased the risk of death by 1/3.
2. Walking protects your heart.
When you take a walk, it increases your heart rate and strengthens your heart. It also helps to reduce stress and keep you calmer. James O’Keefe, M.D., a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City stated, “Walking may protect your heart as much as running.” Those who walk for at least 3 hours per week have about 35% less chance of dying from a heart attack.
3. Walking helps you lose weight.
One hour of walking briskly can burn more than 450 calories. This helps you with your weight loss goals. More importantly, walking specifically targets belly fat, which is thought to be the most dangerous type. Walking also helps to improve insulin sensitivity, which helps protect against diabetes. Walking just 30 minutes per day can reduce your risk of diabetes by about 30%. For those who already have a diagnosis of diabetes, walking just one mile each day can decrease the risk of death by nearly 40%.
4. Walking helps the body repair DNA.
The aging process is not kind to our bodies. But, walking can help slow the aging process. A study conducted at Saarland University in Germany found that regular walking could add telomerase to your system, which is an enzyme that helps to repair DNA. When the DNA is properly repaired, you may live longer. This effect is possible with only 25 minutes of brisk walking or light jogging each day.
With all of these great benefits, what are you waiting for? Time to go for a walk! Make it a habit and live longer!