For a few years now doctors and medical professionals have been trying to spread awareness regarding the health benefits of walking. Improved cardiovascular health, better sleep schedules, and lower risk for mental health issues are some of the well-known benefits associated with walking. But now new research is claiming that going on regular walks might even help your life longer.
1000 Steps A Day To Keep The Doctor Away
New Research findings presented at the American Heart Association’s Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Conference claim that people who walk more steps regularly have a longer lifespan than those who don’t. The results were similar for those people who have consistent, uninterrupted walking sessions and those who walk in small sessions all through the day.
Elizabeth Gardner, a sports medicine specialist at Yale Medicine recommends walking as a very cheap and easy way to exercise. She explains that in order to gain health benefits one need not walk huge distances regularly, short walks throughout the day also count as moderate exercise to keep the body fit and healthy.
Increase your lifespan just by walking:
Results from the new research on the benefits of walking throw up some interesting observations:
- The study was conducted over a period between 2011 and 2015
- 16,732 women below the age of 60 were used as participants for the study.
- All of them wore a step counter device on their waist.
- The walking done by the participants during this period was divided into categories- short walking bursts involved in daily activities and long walks for at least over 10 minutes.
- Each participant was tracked for 6 years and this process came to an end in 2019.
- It was found that those who took at least 2000 steps a day had a 32% reduced chance of death, while those who walked 1000 steps daily reduced their risk of death by 28%
- The researchers also found that health benefits from walking kept increasing the more steps a person walked, till these benefits reached a plateau level at around 4,500 steps daily
- No significant difference was initially discerned between those who took longer walks and those who reached these goal steps with shirt bursts
These drastic reductions in chances of death were interpreted by physicians as due to the health benefits of an active lifestyle.
The health perks of an active lifestyle:
- Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the USA. Walking regularly can reduce the risk of developing heart disease and also help manage many cardiovascular conditions
- Dr. Jennifer Wong, a cardiologist at the Orange Coast Medical Centre of California explains to her patients that regular physical activity can improve lipid profiles, reduce blood pressure, and control diabetes.
- Long term benefits of walking can include reduced risk of severe coronary events and even death
- Walking is also a great moderate physical activity that builds muscle strength and in the leg and core and helps avoid frequent falls and related injuries in older adults
- Elizabeth Gardner believes that it is best to walk fast for 30 seconds and then alternate with a slower pace for the next 30 seconds. This increases the heart rate and helps burn more calories and builds muscle definition and fitness.
- Walking is also associated with better sleep. Walking has many significant benefits for mental health as well, it improves mood, boosts energy and reduces risk of mental illnesses.
In the 21st century, we are always too busy to find time to take care of ourselves. But doctors suggest that some simple lifestyle changes can incorporate more steps into your daily schedule. Exchange elevators for stairs, take 5 min breaks to walk around the room after every hour of sitting at a desk, walk around the room when watching TV or listening to music. These easy strategies will make it possible to get in your 1000 steps daily and give you a healthier, happier and longer life.