walking less than recommended amount of exercise helps you live longer

Everyone knows that exercise is good for your health. But, if you don’t get the recommended amount, don’t give up. A little is a lot better than nothing.

In a recent blog, we saw that less exercise than was previously thought was still highly effective at taking advantage of exercise’s antidepressant effects. Now, new research shows the same for saving your life. Even if you get less than the recommended amount of exercise, don’t give up: your still doing your body a lot of life saving good.

The commonly recommended exercise goal is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. But that doesn’t mean that if you can’t reach that goal, you may as well just give up. A huge study of 139,255 people has illuminated the benefits of going for walks of any length.

The people in this study were all between 50 and 74 when the study started. They were then followed for 13 years, keeping track of how much they exercised.

Walking lots was really good for you. People who walked the recommended amount or twice the recommended amount were 20% less likely to die from any cause during the study. But, people who walked less than the recommended amount still did a lot better than people who didn’t exercise at all. Compared to walking less than the recommended amount, people who were inactive were 26% more likely to die from any cause.

By the way, just going for a walk is really good: the benefit of walking on the risk of death was similar to other forms of physical activity. Walking especially benefited respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

A recent meta-analysis found that walking for just over 3 hours a week is associated with 11% lower mortality (Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2014;11: 1–15).

So, get the recommended amount of exercise if you can. But, if you can’t, don’t give up. Anything is better than nothing, and a pleasant walk is as good as anything.

American Journal of Preventative Medicine 2017; doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2017.08.019


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 is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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