Adapted from BMJ Sept 19 Promoting physical activity to patients by Christine Haseler et al.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has described walking as a miracle cure. Despite this many of us are not as active as we should be and inactivity is thought to result in as many deaths as smoking. More than a quarter of UK adults do less than 30 minutes physical activity a week.
Quantified, these are the benefits of just plain walking:
30% lower all cause mortality, even 10 minutes a day is worthwhile.
20-30% lower risk of dementia.
Better relief from back pain than back exercises
30% lower risk of colon cancer
30% reduction in falls for older adults
22-83% reduction in osteoarthritis
even lower body fat than playing sports
20-35% lower risk of cardiovascular disease
20% lower risk of breast cancer
30-40% lower risk of metabolic syndrome or type two diabetes
The people who need to see their GP before undertaking exercise are few but include people with unstable angina, aortic stenosis or uncontrolled severe hypertension.
In pregnancy the sort of activities that need to stop are: impact activities, lying on the back for long periods, high altitude activities and underwater activities.
7 thoughts on “Walking is a miracle cure”
Thanks for helping me to validate my choices to walk each morning for between 30 and 40 minutes. On weekends I’ve been enjoying a second walk too. Exercise isn’t something I enjoy but the benefits outweigh the lack of enjoyment.
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I am a reluctant walker. I more wobble than walk. But with winter upon us, i am forced to give up my bicycle so its back to walking. This year I purchased walking poles, I am hopeful.
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I miss walking so much. I walk as much as I possibly can every day around my flat. I miss the smell of the forest the most. Walking, swinging my arms on forest soft ground is the most healthiest feeling imaginable. It is the thing I look forward to most being able to do again. Great article.
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This is something I need to start doing. Right now my legs are swollen after a fall and I have developed cellulitis in one leg. Nothing seems to help and I’m not diabetic. Perhaps walking will get my circulation moving again. Thanks for the reminder.