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Largest ever study reveals impact of walking on early death

Silhouette man walking travel

Johnstocker Production | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 03/07/23

Scientists at Cambridge University reveal how 11 minutes of brisk walking a day can seriously improve life expectancy.

For those who aren’t huge fans of exercising a lot, a massive study carried out by leading scientists has the answer.

In the study that gathered information from 196 peer-reviewed articles that included 30 million participants from 94 study cohorts, researchers were able to ascertain that just 11 minutes of brisk walking each day can prevent one in 10 early deaths, according to the Guardian.

This means that if individuals carry out 75 minutes of moderate exercise, they can potentially avoid dying prematurely by a significant amount. And the good news: That’s half the amount of the 150 minutes of exercise recommended by Britain’s National Health Service.

“If you are someone who finds the idea of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week a bit daunting, then our findings should be good news,” shared Dr Søren Brage from the epidemiology unit of Cambridge’s Medical Research Council (MRC). “Doing some physical activity is better than doing none. This is also a good starting position – if you find that 75 minutes a week is manageable, then you could try stepping it up gradually to the full recommended amount.”

Interestingly, dancing, hiking, riding a bike, or playing tennis — exercises that raise the heart rate, but still allow you to speak — can also effect longevity by reducing the chance of getting cardiovascular disease, different types of cancer, and myeloid leukemia.

The positive news means that just taking 11 minutes of your day can reduce the risk of some cancers by 7%, cardiovascular disease by 17% , and diminish the chances of dying an early death by up to 23%. (More facts and figures are available in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.)

Prof. James Woodcock from Cambridge University also added: “What we’ve found is there are substantial benefits to heart health and reducing your risk of cancer even if you can only manage 10 minutes every day.”

We’ve previously reported on the positive effects of walking on our mental health, and even our marriages, so now there’s a little more motivation to get out there. But don’t forget, these 11 minutes just need to involve your heart beating faster, so if you want to grab your grandkids and take them for a walk, or dance around in the garden, you have the perfect excuse!

Catholic LifestyleHealth and WellnessSports
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