Regular Walking Linked With Reduced Mortality Risk
It’s recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. A recent study suggests that walking, even below the recommended minimal levels, may reduce the risk of mortality, when compared with inactivity.
Participants in the study included approximately 140,000 people who took part in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. Between 6% and 7% of the participants had no moderate or vigorous intensity activity at the beginning of the study. Approximately 95% reported “some walking,” while nearly half walked as their only form of moderate to vigorous exercise.
After correcting for other risk factors, such as smoking, obesity, and chronic conditions, the researchers found that only walking for less than two hours per week was associated with lower all-cause mortality than no activity. They also found that meeting one to two times more the minimum recommendation for only walking was associated with a 20% lower risk of all-cause mortality.
When the researchers looked specifically at which diseases walking protected against, they found an approximately 35% lower risk of respiratory disease mortality when people walked six hours per week, compared with inactivity. They also found that only walking was associated with a 20% lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality and a 9% lower risk of cancer mortality, compared with inactivity.
Researchers from the American Cancer Society conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on October 11, 2017, in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
Previous clinical studies suggest that even moderate exercise may reduce your risk of dying prematurely, help with blood sugar control, reduce body weight, improve heart health and improve respiratory health. Even a brisk ten-minute walk a day can have health benefits.