Dr Nighat discusses benefits of walking for longevity

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Longevity may seem like a hard-won achievement but living long and well is surprisingly simple. That’s the takeaway of a new study published in the European Heart Journal, which found that two-minute bursts of vigorous physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of death, cancer, and heart disease. Speaking on ITV’s This Morning, Doctor Nighat Arif hailed the findings as “really reassuring”. 

Two minutes worth of exercise, such as fast-paced walking, was shown to bring myriad health benefits, she said.

“Walking opens up your sugar stores and allows your insulin resistance to be better. That means you’re burning fat and burning sugar as well.”

As the doc explained, this allows you to lose weight, and be fitter and healthier.

Also, the mental health impact can be profound, Doctor Nighat added.

For their study, the researchers enrolled 71,893 adults without any evidence of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

Participants were selected from the UK Biobank study, a prospective cohort of participants ages 40–69.

Researchers analysed associations between how much and how often people undertook vigorous physical activity with death (all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer) and the incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

To understand the difference between moderate physical activity and vigorous physical activity, the researchers defined moderate physical activity as exercise that noticeably increases heart rate but not necessarily leaves people out of breath.

Vigorous physical activity, however, will likely result in an increased heart rate, and people will often need to pause for breath when speaking.

Examples of vigorous physical activity include sprints, high intensity interval training (HIIT), swimming, or cycling at fast speeds.

The researchers found that the risk for all adverse outcomes under investigation was reduced as people increased how much and how often they took part in vigorous physical activity.

For example, participants who did no vigorous physical activity had a four percent risk of dying within five years.

This risk was halved to two percent with less than 10 minutes of weekly vigorous activity and was halved again to a one percent risk if people did 60 minutes or more.

There’s no shortage of studies demonstrating the longevity effects of walking.

In an earlier study, walking just 10 Minutes per day was found to boost longevity for people over 85.

In their study, the researchers examined the association between walking and the risks of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in adults 85 and older.

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