While it’s easy to come up with excuses not to exercise, those reasons generally don’t hold up when it comes to walking. It’s cheap, it’s easy and it’s something you’ve been doing since your toddler days. So unless you have a disability that prevents you from walking, there’s little reason you can’t engage in this basic exercise. And now there’s even more scientific research to back up the value and relative ease of a healthy walking lifestyle.
First stop is a look at a new research study published in JAMA that examined the number of steps older women need to take to lower their mortality rates. As you’ve previously seen in agebuzz, the idea of needing to walk 10,000 steps/day is somewhat of a myth. And now there is research that demonstrates that in older women, as few as 4400 steps/day can lead to significantly lower mortality rates- and, in fact, the lowering of risk seems to flatten out at about 7500 steps/day. So recalculate your route, and listen to more about this new study here.
But don’t slow down your pace. Turns out that a brisk walking pace seems to be associated with a longer life, regardless of your weight. In another new study published in The Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers from the UK National Institute for Health Research found even in those overweight or obese, a fast walking pace seems to be associated with a longer life expectancy. And while this was a self-reported, observational study, picking up the pace of your walk requires only modest effort for perhaps major benefit. So how fast are we talking? As one commentator stated, this pace of walking “can be measured between ‘conversation is easy’ and ‘you can hear your breathing but you’re not out of breath.’” So you can walk the walk and talk the talk, albeit at a quicker pace than a stroll. And if you need a little assist? Check out this recent agebuzz post on the value of walking poles. Finally, for a personal perspective on what you can observe while taking your walk, check out the newest blog piece by writer Alice Herb on the agebuzz website.