The health benefits associated with regular exercise are fairly established but research continues to build on our foundational knowledge. Encouragingly, even straight-forward, relatively low-intensity exercise yields considerable benefit. Namely, walking has been associated with a host of health benefits that can contribute to longevity.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CVD is the number one cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year.
Evidence suggests a post-meal stroll can help to lower your blood sugar levels.
This finding is significant because high blood sugar levels is a complication of type 2 diabetes – a precursor to cardiovascular disease.
A small study found that taking a 15-minute walk three times a day (after breakfast, lunch, and dinner) improved blood sugar levels more than taking a 45-minute walk at another point during the day.
What’s more, walking may boost your immune function, bolstering your defences against nasty viral infections.
One study tracked 1,000 adults during flu season.
Those who walked at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes a day had 43 percent fewer sick days and fewer upper respiratory tract infections overall.
Their symptoms were also lessened if they did get sick. That was compared to adults in the study who were sedentary.
Key dietary tips
A regular exercise routine must be accompanied by a healthy diet to maximise the longevity benefits.
According to the NHS, a low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended, which should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (five portions a day) and whole grains.
“You should limit the amount of salt you eat to no more than six grams (0.2oz) a day as too much salt will increase your blood pressure,” warns the health body.
Six grams of salt is about one teaspoonful.