Walk your risk away!

Walk your risk away!

Do you have days where you are so booked and busy that you don’t feel like you have time to exercise? The idea of going to the gym after work or dinner or the kids go to bed, forget it. No free time, no me time, no way. 

But, maybe you can walk a little? 

Not sure if a little walk is worth your time and effort? Research shows that even ten minutes per week of walking (or any light to moderate activity) has serious health benefits. 

This cool study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (and I covered it for Harvard Health Blog in a post titled “Activity: It All Counts”). 

The study researchers looked at over ten years of lifestyle and behavior information from 88,000 U.S. adults who participated in the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey, and then matched those responses with national medical diagnosis and death data. 

They found that as little as 10 minutes per week of light to moderate activity (like walking) was associated with an 18% lower risk of death from any cause, including cardiovascular (heart attack, stroke) and cancer. This was even after adjusting for smoking, alcohol intake, and body mass index.

More exercise was better, of course, up to 1,500 minutes per week, which had a 46% lower risk of death from any cause. Basically, the more weekly activity, the lower the risk of death.

Read the original research article or my summary and see what you think. Every little bit of activity counts, and it’s better than taking a pill. 

That’s why on my long clinic days, when I know I’m cramming in a ton then running to pick up the kids, I get off the train a stop early and walk a mile to my office: 

Me walking, coffee and lunch bag in hand, this very morning.

It’s only a mile, but between the stairs leading up out of the Park Street T Station, the stairs leading up to my office, and that little walk, I’m almost halfway at my steps goal for the day, and well beyond ten minutes or weekly activity. Just that little walk! 

I may not hit 10,000 steps (which is a sort of arbitrary goal anyways), but this is more than I would have gotten in otherwise. And it was a beautiful morning!

So next time you think you don’t have time to exercise, see if you can take a little walk. Remember, even ten minutes per week has health benefits.



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