A step ahead of illness: Walking daily may boost healthy aging

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Studies have shown that a regular walking habit can promote weight control, but it may also provide additional health benefits for body and mind as people age.

An Eat This, Not That! article published August 25, 2021 cited studies from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers who found that walking every day may help people live longer lives and stave off depression.

Research led by I-Min Lee, professor in the Department of Epidemiology, found that older women who walked at least 4,400 steps each day had greater longevity than those who walked less.

A separate study linked regular walking to improved mental health. “We saw a 26% decrease in odds for becoming depressed for each major increase in objectively measured physical activity,” first author Karmel Choi, research advisor on resilience at the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness, said in the Eat This, Not That! article. “This increase in physical activity is what you might see on your activity tracker if you replaced 15 minutes of sitting with 15 minutes of running, or one hour of sitting with one hour of moderate activity like brisk walking.”

Other benefits that a daily walking habit may provide as people age include reduced risk of dementia,  stroke, and heart disease, and strengthened muscles and bones, according to other researchers cited in the Eat This, Not That! article.

Read the Eat This, Not That! here: What a Daily Walking Habit Does to Your Body After 60, Says Science .

(Reprinted with permission from the Harvard Gazette.)

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