Image: © Halfpoint/Thinkstock
Health guidelines advise all of us to spend at least two-and-a-half hours per week in moderate-intensity activity. For many people, that means walking, which requires no special equipment or training. But even if you can't rack up those 150 minutes, establishing a regular walking routine might extend your life, suggests a study published online Oct. 19, 2017, by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Researchers looked at data on nearly 140,000 adults (average age about 70) who answered questionnaires about their exercise habits over 13 years. People who were inactive were 26% more likely to die during the study period compared with people who did some walking (up to two hours per week) as their only form of activity. And people who walked more — at least two hours per week — lowered their risk even more. The study is observational and doesn't prove that walking kept people alive longer during the study. However, we know that walking is associated with a lower risk for developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. If you don't want to walk in cold weather, try walking at a mall or an indoor track at a YMCA, or use a home treadmill.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.