During the lockdown period, in many countries affected by the home confinement measures stemming from the health emergency there has been a lot of talk about the opportunity of allowing people to perform physical activity outdoors.
Whether it was sport or just walks, the views of the uncompromising, who opposed any form of loosening of the lockdown, and those of the moderate front often seemed to be totally incompatible. But on one point, in the end, they agreed: prohibiting altogether the possibility of doing outdoor physical activity would be detrimental, rather than beneficial.
Doctors all over the world (including the WHO) are increasingly convinced about this: physical activity and a non-sedentary lifestyle can increase life expectancy. Plus, if regular physical activity is paired with a healthy diet, the chance of developing NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes and some forms of cancer, is dramatically reduced.
But the novel aspect is that, according to a research published by the specialised magazine Mayo Clinic Proceedings, brisk-pace walking is enough for your organism to enjoy many benefits.
The link between walking pace and life expectancy was first acknowledged by a study conducted by the researchers of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) of the Leicester Biomedical Research Centre.
The data taken from the analysis of some 475,000 people (average age being 52 years) revealed that women walking at a brisk pace had an average life expectancy of about 87 years (compared with 85 for men). The figure falls drastically for those who prefer a more relaxed pace: 73 years for women and just below 65 years for men.
“These findings suggest that physical shape is a better life expectancy indicator than the Body Mass Index”, says professor Tom Yates, of Leicester University and lead author of the study, “and that brisk-pace walking can lead to a longer life”.
So, walking – briskly – makes you live longer. You’d best get started, then!