Diet & Nutrition

Why you should step up the walking

Scientists have linked walking with longer life spans, reports say.

By Sheree Mutton
A sedentary person who increases their daily steps from 1000 to 10,000 a day can lower their chance of dying by 46 per cent, new research has found.
Study author Professor Terry Dwyer, of The George Institute for Global Health, said this was the first time research had been able to make the link between exercise, measured directly through pedometers, and reduced mortality over time in people who appeared healthy at the outset.
“Inactivity is a major public health problem, with conditions like obesity costing the economy tens of billions of dollars every year,” said Professor Dwyer.
“This shows more clearly than before that the total amount of activity also affects life expectancy,” he added.
“Previous research measured physical activity by questionnaire only, but these results are more robust and give us greater confidence that we can prevent death from major diseases by being more active.
“This study should greatly encourage individuals to ensure they do regular exercise and prompt governments to create more opportunities for physical activity in communities.”
The study monitored 3,000 Australians over 15 years and was conducted in collaboration with the Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania. The participants were given pedometers and data was collected at the beginning and again about five years later.
The Heart Foundation’s Chief Executive, Kerry Doyle said the new research proved that even moderate exercise like walking could significantly improve a person’s health.
“It seems a walk a day can keep the doctor away,” she said. “We’ve known for some time now how good exercise is, especially for heart health and this research adds to that body of evidence. Regular exercise can help your body in numerous ways and the good news is that it doesn’t have to be a hard-core gym workout”.

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