Walk 20 min­utes to live longer

Lesotho Times - - Health -

LON­DON — A brisk daily walk of just 20 min­utes could add years to your life, sci­en­tists have said.

In a stark warn­ing against couch­potato life­styles, they said lack of ex­er­cise killed twice as many peo­ple as obe­sity.

The Cam­bridge Uni­ver­sity study of 334 000 peo­ple found that even a mod­est amount of ac­tiv­ity pro­longed life. And the least fit had the most to gain.

Twenty min­utes of walk­ing a day — or its equiv­a­lent — would cut their risk of pre­ma­ture death by al­most a third.

The re­searchers could not say how much ex­tra life could be gained through us­ing ex­er­cise in this way to move from the ‘ in­ac­tive’ to the ‘mod­er­ately in­ac­tive’ part of the pop­u­la­tion.

But even the obese could ex­pect a 16 per­cent re­duced risk of dy­ing early. Those of healthy weight could profit by 30 per­cent.

Ulf Ekelund, who led the study, said: “This is a sim­ple mes­sage: just a small amount of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity each day could have sub­stan­tial health benefits for peo­ple who are phys­i­cally in­ac­tive.

“Although we found just 20 min­utes would make a dif­fer­ence, we should re­ally be look­ing to do more than this — phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity has many proven health benefits and should be an im­por­tant part of our daily life.”

The re­searchers es­ti­mated that 337 000 of 9.2 mil­lion recorded deaths of Euro­pean men and women were at­trib­ut­able to obe­sity. But twice this num­ber — around 676 000 deaths — could be blamed on in­ac­tiv­ity.

Bri­tish gov­ern­ment guide­lines ad­vise 150 min­utes of mod­er­ate ac­tiv­ity such as gar­den­ing, danc­ing or brisk walk­ing, or 75 min­utes of vig­or­ous ex­er­cise, in­clud­ing play­ing sport, run­ning or aer­o­bics, ev­ery week.

But a re­cent sur­vey found that a third of peo­ple can barely man­age to walk for 30 min­utes over seven days, even when trips to the shops, work or school are con­sid­ered.

And a re­port backed by the ini­tia­tive Walk­ing for Health last year found that phys­i­cal in­ac­tiv­ity cost the Bri­tish econ­omy up to £10 bil­lion a year through sick days, health­care costs and early deaths.

Pro­fes­sor Nick Ware­ham, direc­tor of the Med­i­cal Re­search Coun­cil epi­demi­ol­ogy unit at Cam­bridge, said: “Help­ing peo­ple to lose weight can be a real chal­lenge, and whilst we should con­tinue to aim at re­duc­ing pop­u­la­tion lev­els of obe­sity, public health in­ter­ven­tions that en­cour­age peo­ple to make small but achiev­able changes in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity can have sig­nif­i­cant health benefits and may be eas­ier to achieve and main­tain.”

June Dav­i­son, se­nior car­diac nurse at the Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion, said: “The re­sults of this study are a clear re­minder that be­ing reg­u­larly phys­i­cally ac­tive can re­duce the risk of dy­ing from coro­nary heart dis­ease.

“The re­search sug­gests that just a mod­est in­crease in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity can have health benefits.

Adults should aim to do at least 150 min­utes of mod­er­ate in­ten­sity ac­tiv­ity a week, car­ry­ing it out in ses­sions of ten min­utes or more.

Whether it’s go­ing for a walk, tak­ing a bike ride or us­ing the stairs in­stead of the lift, keep­ing ac­tive ev­ery day will help re­duce the risk of de­vel­op­ing coro­nary heart dis­ease.’

A brisk 20-minute walk would burn be­tween 90 and 110 calo­ries. The study was re­ported in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion.

The au­thors de­fined pre­ma­ture death as dy­ing be­fore the av­er­age age for do­ing so. — Daily Mail

A BRISK 20 minute walk ev­ery day could cut the chance of dy­ing early, it is claimed

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