The simple act of walking has numerous health benefits. If done correctly and consistently, it can help in losing weight, and maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol. Now, a new study has revealed another golden benefit of walking.
According to a team of researchers from the University of Cambridge, one in 10 deaths could be prevented if people manage at least half the recommended level of physical activity.
In a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the researchers say that 11 minutes a day which means 75 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity like a brisk walk would be sufficient to lower the risk of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and a number of cancers.
According to experts, physical activity can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and the NHS recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week.
As a part of the study, the researchers analysed results reported in 196 peer-reviewed articles, covering more than 30 million participants from 94 large study cohorts, to produce the largest analysis to date of the association between physical activity levels and risk of heart disease, cancer, and early death.
They found that outside of work-related physical activity, two out of three people reported activity levels below 150 min per week of moderate-intensity activity and fewer than one in ten managed more than 300 min per week.
According to the scientists, 75 minutes per week of moderate activity was also enough to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 17 per cent and cancer by 7 per cent.
For some specific cancers, the reduction in risk was greater – head and neck, myeloid leukaemia, myeloma, and gastric cardia cancers were between 14-26 per cent lower risk. For other cancers, such as lung, liver, endometrial, colon, and breast cancer, a 3-11 per cent lower risk was observed.
However, even if everyone managed at least 75 min per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, around one in ten (10 per cent) early deaths would be prevented, the researchers found. One in twenty (5 per cent) cases of cardiovascular disease and nearly one in thirty (3 per cent) cases of cancer would be prevented, the study revealed.