While the benefits of exercise may be obvious, many people might be surprised to find that brisk walking can add as much as seven years to your life! Recent stories in the Daily Mail, Associated Press, USA Today, and BBC News have reported on the astounding health benefits of brisk walking, as little as 150 minutes a week.
Representatives from Harvard University and the U.S. government’s medical research agency analyzed the results of six previous studies into health and lifestyle. The most significant benefits to exercise were enjoyed by people of a healthy weight. With two and a half hours of moderate exercise a week, such as brisk walking, they extended their lives by more than seven years, according to the findings of the U.S. study.
“We must not underestimate how important physical activity is for health – even modest amounts can add years to your life,” said Dr. I-Min Lee, a senior author of the U.S. study. During an interview with the Associated Press, Dr. Oscar Franco, a researcher at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, said “Three years of extra life: It’s a very clear message that makes it easy to grasp what might be the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle.” Dr. Franco co-authored one of the studies on the benefits of walking.
In that same USA Today article, Miriam Nelson, a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, stated that “walking is really powerful medicine.”
In the U.S., federal physical activity guidelines indicate that people need 2 ½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week to stay healthy. Brisk walking is an example of a moderate-intensity aerobic activity.
“Right now, research from the Physical Activity Council indicates 114 million Americans are walking for fitness. This is America’s #1 activity. There are more than 50 other sports or activities Americans can participate in which can have similar benefits,” said PHIT America founder Jim Baugh. “If Americans want to live longer or just become more healthy, we must increase activity and fitness levels.”
As part of the Together Counts program, PHIT wants to know—how do you and your family incorporate physical activity into your routine? Could your family benefit from weekly walking sessions together? Tell us in the comments below.
PHIT America is a member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation. PHIT is a non-profit educational, social media, and advocacy campaign focused on overcoming the inactivity and obesity in America by creating a Movement for a Fit & Healthy America. Fueled by 150 companies, sports ambassadors and celebrities, PHIT America is dedicated to getting Americans more active, fit and healthy.
For more information on staying fit, take a look at these articles on the Together Counts blog: