Lace up your walking shoes—health benefits will follow.
Research recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has us peppering our days with short walks rather than long runs. Why? The study, which analyzes physical activity and longevity in adults, reveals that people gain health benefits no matter the duration of exercise session. That means time spent exercising needs not be lengthy in order to be good for you. According to the research, “Greater total MVPA [moderate-to-vigorous physical activity] is strongly associated with lower mortality”, and the length of the exercise session doesn’t matter as much.
That doesn’t mean you need to move less, however. According to the clinical implications of the research, people are free to accumulate total activity as they wish and can choose between one long session or multiple short sessions of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, like walking or jogging. So, technically, more short walks can be as beneficial as one prolonged run. The goal is higher total accumulation of activity and exercise, and the benefits are not majorly affected by how that accumulation is reached.
Another key word here is flexibility. The ability to accumulate minutes sporadically and still garner health benefits is good news for those who are less active overall. Multiple short walks a day add up, and the result can be a healthier, longer life.
If you want to learn about other health benefits provided by walking, check out related articles from the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School. Also, to make the most of your walks each day, check out our best walking tips (like setting mini challenges and time goals while walking), and also consider starting a walking group with friends. We’re ready to get moving—how about you?
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Are you team walk or team run? How do you inspire yourself to get moving and reach your exercise goals?