Just because you happen to be blessed with good metabolism doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for regular exercise. A study by the University of Cambridge published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that twice the fatalities occur from not getting enough exercise as from being obese.
The good news is that an activity as basic as walking can go a long way in supporting lasting health. The study found that just a 20-minute brisk walk each day is enough to reduce the risk of early death found in those who did not exercise. The benefits of walking are clear, and this should give everyone pause and motivation to make this simple but valuable time investment.
A little exercise can go a long way toward improving your health
The study looked at the health habits of more than 334,000 Europeans – both men and women. The death rate was found to be double for those who did not exercise regularly as compared with those struggling with obesity. What was the variable? A brisk 20-minute walk or comparable cardiovascular activity each day.
In fact, according to study results, the benefits of walking can reduce the risk of dying early by as much as 30 percent.
Of course, this is not to say that obesity doesn’t have major health risks. Those whose weight falls into the obese range are at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, gallstones, gallbladder disease, gout, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, asthma, breathing problems, and some cancers. Maintaining a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise is essential to overall health and wellbeing.
However, this study brings to light an even stronger motivation to exercise regularly as part of a healthy lifestyle.
The benefits of walking: Health, longevity and a higher quality of life
During a 20-minute brisk walk, approximately 90 to 110 calories are burned. While longer exercise sessions are valuable for fat loss and cardiovascular health, the study found that this reasonably short time investment allowed participants to reap significant health rewards. Risk of premature death in those who stuck to this program was reduced by a minimum of 16 percent and in some cases as much as 30 percent.
Regular exercise offers an abundance of benefits to quality of life as well. In addition to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and metabolic syndrome, regular exercise also assists with controlling weight, regulating sleep patterns, strengthening muscles and bones, boosting mood and improving outlook.
The message is simple and straightforward: a modest amount of physical activity every day is one of the keys to lasting health and longevity. Just a 20-minute daily walk can bring tremendous health benefits to everyone, whether they are near their ideal weight or not.
The rewards are clear, so why not commit to 20 minutes each day?