Walking a given number of steps every day can help increase longevity and improve the quality of life. Due to the impacts of walking, you can end up considerably reducing the risk of certain diseases that can otherwise cut your lifespan short.
Even if you start out small or at a standard pace, you can go on increasing the number of steps you walk with each passing day, leading to several marked benefits to your health and life that you will start noticing within a few days.
Several conditions can improve if you simply walk more every day. For instance, mental health, heart conditions, sleep, focus, digestion, blood circulation and more can all improve as a result of regular walking, thereby reducing the risk of premature death.
There are several things you should learn and be aware of in this regard, such as the number of steps you should walk every day, the benefits of walking and how you can build this important habit. Take a look at these below.
How Many Steps Should You Walk?
How many steps per day by age should you walk? Ideally, you should walk around 8,000-10,000 steps per day if you are younger than 60 years of age, beyond which the risk of dying prematurely becomes more or less stable.
For those older than 60, you should walk around 6,000-8,000 steps per day. While many say that you should walk more every day, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, the “10,000 steps per day myth” might not actually have any effect, considering that the effects become fairly level once you cross a certain thousand steps.
In either case, it is important to walk for an hour or more every day to ensure that you feel the effects of walking on your life and health. If you are not used to this kind of activity, you can even start out with 1,000 steps and continue adding 1,000 steps every few days until you get used to it.
The important thing is to set a goal you can achieve. I use the Pedometer App and set is to 2000 steps per day. It's not a high goal and usually I walk 4000 to 8000 steps per day, but I always walk at least 2000 steps even if I'm not feeling well or have a heavy work schedule. I used to buy into the 10,000 step per day myth so set my goal for 10,000 and NEVER achieved it, hence changing strategy as I mentioned and now I achieve my walking goal EVERY day.
Effects Of Walking
Walking more can improve your life expectancy and quality of life. In fact, people who walk for over an hour every day can expect to live longer after 40 as compared to those who do not walk enough or at all.
Even walking 2,000 steps a day can reduce the risk of premature death by 32%, with an increased number of steps reducing the risk even more.
How exactly does walking end up increasing longevity and improving the quality of life? Due to the numerous benefits and effects that walking has, you can notice a difference that it makes to your overall health and wellbeing.
You can take a look at these effects below.
Improved Sleep Quality
Your sleep quality can improve if you make walking a daily habit. This applies to both young and old people. Essentially, getting your daily number of steps can ensure that you sleep for the required number of hours every night while also going through a proper sleep and REM cycle.
You do not necessarily need to walk the entire duration at once; you can also break it down into chunks throughout the day.
Walking every day can help improve your cardiovascular health in many ways, such as improving your blood circulation, regulating blood sugar levels, managing the heartbeat and also reducing the risk of strokes or heart diseases in the long run.
This can, as a result, also end up increasing your longevity and keeping you healthy. Make sure you keep increasing the steps you walk and ensure that you are getting a minimum of 150 minutes of activity every week. But nothing beats walking every day for the maximum health benefit.
Walking on a daily basis can also help you lose weight and maintain a certain weight, thereby also reducing the risk of other associated diseases and conditions. It is important to walk for the given number of steps every day to notice the effect. However, do not overdo it as the impact will only end up stabilizing after a certain point.
Walking every day can improve your mood, reduce stress and anxiety, reduce the level of depression and maintain your general mental health.
This is because walking, like other forms of exercise, can improve blood circulation and have an impact on the parts of the brain that regulate these moods and effects, such as the amygdala, the hippocampus and the limbic system.
People who walk everyday report they are usually happy. Have you ever felt down and didn't want to exercise but pushed yourself to get up and get going and then once you had finished your walk felt mentally so much better?
Stronger Bones And Muscles
Walking can strengthen your bones and muscles and improve coordination and balance while also promoting a certain level of resistance against major injuries due to falls. Bone density is likely to improve as a result of daily walking, not to mention that the rate of bone loss will also end up reducing considerably.
This impact is seen even in postmenopausal women who may have lowered levels of calcium in their bones.
Reduced Risk Of Cognitive Decline
Cognitive functions such as memory, learning, attention, recall and processing can improve as a result of walking due to the impact of blood circulation on the relevant parts of the brain. Walking can also reduce the risk of cognitive decline and maintain sharpness, making it beneficial even for aging and aged populations.
While aged people might require a lesser number of steps every day, even these can have a significant impact.
Walking can help improve your stamina and endurance, especially if you can manage to get in the required number of hours on a regular basis. It can improve your energy levels since the oxygen flow can improve along with the secretion of hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Building The Walking Habit
It might not actually be that easy to walk thousands of steps every single day. Here are some ways in which you can build the habit and make it easier to carry out.
- Start off small and then go on adding a few more minutes to your routine with each passing day.
- If you can’t manage to walk in a single stretch, consider doing it in 20-minute durations throughout the day or simply walk the shorter distances, such as to the grocery store.
- Instead of taking the elevator, simply climb the stairs to get in some walking time.
- Have fun while walking. Listen to some music or a podcast to make it better.
- Figure out your pace.
- Leave the care at home. Make a decision to walk to places you want or need to visit that are within your walking range. If you can driver there in 10 minutes, you can walk. I have a good backpack that I use to carry any shopping that I might need to bring home. This has the added advantage of walking and improving my strength.
Does Walking Increase Longevity and Quality of Life? Parting Thoughts
Walking increases longevity and quality of life considerably since it can improve sleep quality, cardiovascular health, weight levels, mental health, bone and muscle strength, cognition, stamina and more. Make sure you increase the number of steps as you go along and get in the daily intake for a more effective result.