The most vital reason to take that daily walk… 51



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We spend most of our lives sitting, standing or sleeping. What if we were to swap just one hour per day with walking?

According to a new study by the University of Sydney, the results could be the difference between life and death.

This enormous study, which spanned more than 200,000 Australians, has revealed some alarming statistics:

  • Swapping one hour of sitting with walking (or an equivalent physical activity) can lower the chance of an early death by 12-14%.
  • Swapping one hour of sitting with standing can lead to a 5% reduction in chance of a premature death.
  • Swapping one hour of sitting with sleeping had a 6% decrease in death.

Swapping walking with sitting, on the other hand, led to a 13-17 increase in risk. The results are loud and clear: we need to take that walk.

According to Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, lead author of the study, this is an important wake up call to use our time wisely.

“Previous research established the benefits of adequate physical activity or sleep and the risks of too much sitting, but this is the first to look at what happens when we replace one activity with an equal amount of another,” he said.

“The results show that inactivity is an even bigger public health challenge than we initially thought.

“With the average person sitting watching two to three hours of TV a day, there is definitely scope for people to get off the couch and be more active.

“But it’s also time for governments to realise that physical activity cannot be treated as the sole responsibility of individuals because we live in a physical activity-hostile world.

“Finger-pointing at people because they do not do the right thing has not solved any health problem to date and it is not going to solve the problem of inactivity either.”

This is also a strong reminder that exercise doesn’t have to be a huge, intensive commitment (though that is another important matter in itself); the simplest of physical movement can make a very significant difference.

“The important thing for people to remember is the more you move the better, even if this movement is incidental or at a light intensity,” said Professor Stamatakis.

“It doesn’t have to be formal exercise in a gym, it can be as simple as kicking a ball with your kids in the backyard, going for a walk in the neighbourhood instead of watching another hour of TV, or walking your dog for an extra half an hour a day”.

“But we also need a long-term vision that makes physical activity the easy and convenient option”.

“This means better infrastructure like more cycleways, better connected parks, and better public transport so physical activity becomes an integral part of people’s daily lives”.

Do you feel you walk enough? Does this make you rethink your priorities?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I am approaching 50 next year and earlier this year in Feb I tipped the scales at 105.5kg! 😮 Took a good hard look at myself and knew what I had to do, Changed my whole lifestyle and started walking daily + a daily 10k bike ride before work and a weights program, I do on average 2hours 20mins exercise a day and have lost 12Kg so far and the benefits are amazing, I now have so much energy and I feel great. I am not labeling it a health kick but a lifestyle change. It’s too easy these days to let ourselves go with all the great technology about but we must get back to reality! Get out there and do what you can for yourself you will feel awesome for it!! Have a great Monday 🙂

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  2. Yes it is a lifestyle change and a big one for some, but the benefits far outweigh not doing anything. Small steps to start but stick with it and it works wonders.

  3. I usually do two hourly walks a day. One in the morn and another late afternoon. I go two the gym twice a week and watch my diet. So far have lost 16 kilos over 6 months. By next March hope to lose another 8 kilos. The best thing is I could work harder but I’m really enjoying the daily excerise.

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  4. Love my walks with my dog and observing nature, even the odd snake that crosses our path. Luckily the dog exercises caution when it comes to snakes.

  5. We trek. So I train 3-5 days a week with a 10 kilo pack. I got to the stage when walking was not making me sweat, that is how we got into trekking. Our son was in the army at the time and I was complaining that I would have to start running and I hate running. He told me to throw a pack on. I did and as they say the rest is history.

  6. We walk twice a day with our dog before and after work then on weekends our walks are a bit longer. Have done for years, if for some reason we can’t walk then we feel terrible all day!

  7. Walking is my passion in life. I walk 4 days a week-work 3 days. I am lucky enough to live close to beautiful beaches on the GC. We Hv wonderful walking tracks it’s heaven. Keeps me very trim fit and happy

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  8. I used to walk, have a lung disease now and cannot walk very far at all without getting breathless. I feel very restricted physically.

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    • I am same Annette I still try and walk as much as I can to keep myself fit as possible as they say the fitter you are the less oxygen your body needs. What lung disease do you have? Mine is smoking related. I gave up a couple of years ago then found out later. Would be nice to get talking and compare notes.

    • Hi Sue, minevis a long story, short version I had a double lung transplant 10 years ago, had fantastic fitness for that time, earlier this year I suffered lung rejection, spent 1 month in hosp, lost 45 percent lung capacity and now have chronic kidney disease caused by the immune suppressent drugs I have to take. I was a smoker 25 years ago. I get out and about slowly as much as I can, am learning to cope.

    • Hi I am also the same ,at the moment I am on a Pulmonary Rehab course which is helping ,I have always been active gave up smoking 5years ago before that I was unlucky to be living Kinglake during the Black Saturday bush fires which according to Specialists made my condition a lot worse !!!! My brother who lives in UK and has never smoked has CPOD ,

    • Hi Barbara. I have also done a rehab course. It was good I have also been very active all my life. I gave up the ciggies two and a half years ago and it wasn’t till after that I found out about my lung disease. I smoked for 40 plus years.

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