These boots were made for walking: Increase your walking time to enjoy multiple long-term health benefits By Zoey Sky for Prevention
Walking is one of the simplest and easiest ways to sneak exercise into a busy schedule.
According to a recent study, adults and the elderly can benefit from walking regularly. Researchers have even found that increasing your walking time helps boost your heart health. The study was published in the journal PLOS Medicine.
Many studies have proven that physical activity provides protective benefits for different health conditions and that being sedentary is a major risk factor for a wide range of diseases.
Despite these facts, the long-term follow-up of physical activity trials remains inadequate.
Walk your way to better health
Based on the results of the study, short-term pedometer-based walking interventions offer long-term health benefits for adults and older people.
For the study, Dr. Tess Harris and her colleagues from St. George’s University of London and other institutions analyzed data from 1,297 participants of the PACE-UP and PACE-Lift trials, where scientists conducted two randomized controlled trials of 12-week pedometer-based walking interventions in primary care. These were followed up with long-term data from primary health records at four years.
The researchers aimed to increase step count and physical activity among the participants. Data showed that after sustained increases in physical activity within three to four years in the intervention group, the volunteers had fewer cardiovascular events and fractures.
Volunteers in the intervention groups had a lower risk of having a cardiovascular event compared to those in the control groups. The groups included participants that were 45 to 75 years old.
The study also found that at least 61 of the volunteers required the walking intervention to prevent a single cardiovascular event. Meanwhile, 28 people needed it to prevent one fracture. (Related: For postmenopausal ladies: Try walking downhill after every meal to maintain bone health.)
The research team noted that while the rates of adverse health events were low for the study and were restricted to those documented in primary care records, under-recording wouldn’t have differed by intervention status, ensuring that bias wasn’t present in the study.
The scientists concluded that short-term walking interventions offer long-term health benefits and that this simple yet effective intervention should be practiced more to address health problems linked to a lack of regular physical activity.
Easy ways to exercise more
Even if you have a busy schedule, it’s important to make time for exercise. Quick workouts spread throughout a jam-packed work week is better than nothing, especially if you want to improve your overall health.
If you’re at a loss on how to squeeze in a quick workout, try some of the tips below:
- Walk with a companion. Exercise doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. If you prefer to walk with some company, turn your walk into a fun-filled adventure by exploring new routes or playing a scavenger hunt with a loved one.
- Take your dog for a walk. Walking your dog daily ensures that you both get the exercise you need and that you spend time with your four-legged buddy.
- Exercise while watching TV. Turn TV time into something that can benefit your health. Walk or jog in place during commercials. You can also do yoga, lift weights or walk on the treadmill at the gym while you catch up to your favorite shows.
- Walk while you’re on the phone. If you tend to take long work calls regularly, get up from your chair and walk off some calories while doing business on the phone.
- Walk rather than drive. If you can, choose to walk to work, or park farther away to get a bit of walking into your routine. If you can’t walk all the way to the office, ride a bicycle instead.
- Take the stairs. Walking up and down a floor or two is a quick way to sneak walking into your work schedule.