Woman with back pack walking through woodland

It’s one of the easiest and cheapest ways of staying physically active, and now a study suggests that even small amounts of walking may significantly reduce your chance of an early death.

The study, led by Dr Alpa V.Patel strategic director of the Cancer Prevention Study-3 for the American Cancer Society, discovered that even low levels of walking lower the risk of a premature death, compared to inactivity. UK guidelines currently recommend that adults aged 19-64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week, alongside strength exercises.

The team found that as little as 120 minutes of walking “correlated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality,” writes Medical News Today. Researchers also revealed that meeting or exceeding US guidelines for physical activity (the same as UK recommendations) by double, through walking alone, was linked to a 20% reduction in early mortality risk.

In particular, walking had a protective effect on respiratory problems and 6+ hours of walking a week was linked to 35% lower risk of death causes by respiratory disease, compared to those who were inactive. The study found walking to benefit cardiovascular health and, in some instances, lower the risk of developing cancer.

Dr Patel and her team examined data from 140,000 people who took part in the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort.

She told Medical News Today:

“The strengths of this study are its large sample size, [the] large proportion or participants who exclusively walked for exercise, and our ability to consider many potential confounding factors.

“Limitations include [the fact] that data were self-reported, limited information on walking pace, and lack of occupational data.”

She added: “Replication of these findings in other large population studies and will provide additional evidence on the benefits of walking for health and longevity.”

Dr Patel said her team are also interested in further understanding the association between walking and the risk of developing diseases like cancer.

Want to lace up your walking boots? Why not look at our walking workout guide.

[“source=hindustantimes”]