20 Minute Walk a Day to keep the Doctor Away?

In an article written by Jenna Birch for Yahoo! Health, she tells us why a 20 minute walk per day can help us live longer.

You probably have at least an extra 20 minutes in your day, almost every day. If you take that time and go for a short, brisk walk, you may boost your lifespan by up to 30 percent.

According to the new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, University of Cambridge researchers rounded up measurements of weight, height, waist circumference, and the self-reported physical activity levels — or, sometimes, lack thereof — of 334,000 men and women in Europe. They followed up 12 years later and discovered that a relatively moderate amount of activity seemed to reduce mortality rates.

The scientists found that inactivity kills almost twice the number of people each year when compared to obesity (676,000 deaths versus 337,000 deaths, respectively). They also estimated that daily exercise burning around 90 to 110 calories a day could lower a person’s risk of death by 16 to 30 percent.

The effect was stronger for those with normal weights, but overweight and obese people still saw a boost in lifespan. This means that no matter the number on the scale, going from couch potato to light exerciser could produce big benefits.

According to the researchers’ estimates, mortality rates in Europe could drop by 7.5 percent if inactivity was eradicated from the population. Meanwhile, if obesity was eliminated from the same group of men and women, early death tolls would drop by just 3.7 percent.

So, get steppin’ — or if you really want to rev your workout routine, here’s how to become a (healthy) exercise addict in just six weeks. But don’t forget simple walking has many advantages, beyond its apparent life-lengthening effects. Stepping in sync with some mindful meditation may lend a lasting energy boost, so you can tackle your daily to-do list.

Okay, so it might be frigid cold outside, but it may be worth it to you to take that 20 minute walk!