The Power of Walking

Physical activity, including walking, has plentiful health benefits in older adults. Walking has anti-aging effects and is powerful in preventing age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. It also improves mental health and sleep. 

Daily walking and low-intensity physical activity is a significant lifestyle focus in individuals living in Blue Zone regions around the world. Blue Zones are classified as regions of the world where people live healthier lives and live longer than anywhere else. These regions have the highest concentration of people who have lived beyond 100 years with their lifestyle being a contributing factor to their healthy aging and longevity. 

A key lifestyle characteristic of these populations is their high level of physical activity which includes regular walking in addition to other low-intensity fitness activities. Physical activity is incorporated into their daily routines such as walking to run a daily errand or gardening. 

Physical activity can be classified based on intensity level: light, moderate, and vigorous. Walking is most commonly reported as light or brisk and therefore low to moderate intensity. While any type of walking is beneficial, walking at a brisk pace is associated with better cardiovascular and overall health compared to a slow pace. Completing a brisk walk of at least 30 minutes per day for 5 days would meet the current physical activity guidelines recommended of at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week. 

Walking is an effective and simple intervention that can be easily integrated into daily routines to prevent chronic age-related diseases and promote healthy aging. Even though it is not as high intensity as other physical activities such as running, its health benefits are significant. Regular walking should be encouraged as a key strategy in disease prevention and healthy aging.  


Ungvari Z, Fazekas-Pongor V, Csiszar A, Kunutsor SK. The multifaceted benefits of walking for healthy aging: from Blue Zones to molecular mechanisms. Geroscience. 2023;45(6):3211-3239. doi:10.1007/s11357-023-00873-8

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