The easiest thing you can do to extend your life


Something as simple as walking can extend your life, researchers found in the latest publication in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The researchers in this study looked at mortality rates (the rate at which people die) and the correlation it had with walking. It asked the people participating whether or not they walked, or if they did any kind of exercise. An “inactive” group was established, followed by a group that considered walking to be their primary form of physical activity. After that, three more groups were established: walking fewer than 2-3 hours per week, walking of a minimum of twice (2-6 hours per week) and an “exceeding recommendations” group at over 6 hours of walking each week.

In simpler terms, five groups of walkers and non-walkers were compared to each other. The mortality rate for those who were inactive was 26% higher than even the group who walked only 2-3 hours per week. The 2-6-hour group compared to the 2-3-hour group was 20% less likely to have died before the end of the study.

It sounds a bit downcast, but the stats were merely to show the effect walking has on our health. Walking is great for everyone, regardless of your age and it’s linked to lower rates of respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer. This is compared with people who are completely inactive.


Ideas for getting a good walk in:

- Start small – don’t immediately add five walks to your week. Build progressively. One week, start with one walk, then add another, and another until you feel you can handle that number of walks. Maybe turn it into a run at some point?

- If you live in the Fort area, instead of hopping in your car, walk to Lees (the local grocer), or your dentist or even to a coffee shop.

- Consider the “off” time you didn’t even know you had. Walking at lunch counts! Where are those 15 or 20 minute windows of time in your day where you can walk instead of drive or sit?

- What about the local trails we have in the Fraser Valley? Head to this link to check out hikes or walks in the area. Have 30 minutes on a Saturday morning? Head down the Houston Trail near Derby Reach or even along the river close to the Lelem coffee shop.  

- Time is often the biggest factor – if it’s the only thing keeping you away from exercising more and walking, then consider getting up a few minutes earlier and going to bed a few minutes earlier each night.

- It’s free and doesn’t cost you anything, except perhaps your time. Think about that next time you want to go to the gym!