habit adds years to life

Grab your shoes and socks, tie up your hair and get into the great outdoors – it’s time to go for a walk. According to a new study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, just 20 of brisk walking or jogging each day could add up to seven years to your lifespan.

Researchers at Germany’s Saarland University tracked 69 healthy, non-smoking people between the ages of 30 and 60 who were not in the habit of exercising regularly and gave them a walking regime to follow over six months. During this time, they discovered the participants had triggered the anti-ageing process and begun to repair old DNA.

“This suggests that when people exercise regularly, they may be able to retard the process of ageing,” Professor Sanjay Sharma of St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in London told the Independent. “We may never avoid becoming completely old, but we may delay the time we become old. We may look younger when we’re 70 and may live into our nineties.

“Exercise buys you three to seven additional years of life. It is an antidepressant, it improves cognitive function and there is now evidence that it may retard the onset of dementia.”

In addition to improving brain health and increasing life expectancy, daily walkers also have a substantially lower risk of heart disease and diabetes. And the good news doesn’t stop there – the experts say benefits are guaranteed no matter what your age. So, whether you’re nudging 60 or over 80, there’s no excuse not to get out and about.

Tell us in the comments below, are you a walker? How has it improved your health and happiness?

Related links:

The surprising habit that can help you live longer

You’re never too old to learn

10 seniors who shatter ageist stereotypes