A 15-Minute Daily Walk ‘Will Help You Live Longer,’ Study Says

8 Science-backed Reasons Why a Short, Brisk Daily Walk Will Improve Your Life
January 21, 2019 Updated: January 23, 2019

You are probably well aware that exercise is very important to keep up in order to stay healthy and stay in shape. Yet, many people are hesitant to do it because they, firstly, don’t have the time, and secondly, they do not want to be saddled with having to go to the gym to work out, especially on those cold winter evenings after putting in many hours of hard work at their jobs.

However, according to the European Society of Cardiology, having to go to the gym to work out is not really all that necessary. Nor is it necessary for adults to put in all those hours of doing intense cardio each week. In fact, ESC states that older adults who are 60 and over only need to do 15 minutes of physical activity per day to help them improve their health—to the point that it is associated with a 22% lower risk of death. Which means that no one is too busy—practically anyone can set aside 15 minutes of time to focus on improving their health by getting in some good-quality physical activity in such as walking.

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Woman stretching (Public domain)

Really, anyone can benefit from taking a 15-minute brisk walk, but it is especially so in older adults. That is because their health can easily decline at that point due to their age, and they can help preserve that by taking care of themselves by taking a daily, short brisk walk. 

Both older and younger adults can reap a lot of benefits as well by walking for just 15 minutes a day, which they may not even be aware of. Once you learn about the benefits of a little physical activity, you will want to make sure that you make the time to get active. Let’s look at 8 reasons why you will want to develop a habit of taking a daily, short brisk walk right now:

1. Your cardiovascular system will thank you for walking

Walking can improve cardiovascular system
Walking can improve cardiovascular system (Brian A Jackson/Shutterstock)

According to Harvard Health, studies that were conducted have found that both men and women who walked daily had heart health that was a lot better than those who lived sedentary lives. That means that a drop in cardiovascular diseases, which ranged from heart attacks to strokes, was down over 30% in those who walked for 15 minutes a day. Unfortunately, genetics can predispose you to have cardiovascular ailments as well, but if you get some physical activity in daily, you can easily increase your chances of staving off these problems, which means you will live longer.

2. Your mental health can improve

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Walking can improve mental health (Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock)

Mental illness is a common problem that many people have, and one reason for that is that chemicals in the brain are not balanced properly. However, according to Scientific American, taking a daily walk can help release endorphins, which is the feel-good hormone, and that can help balance the chemicals in the brain. This may help improve your mood.

3. Walking eases pain

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Walking can ease pain (Mimagephotography/Shutterstock)

This may sound counterintuitive considering when you are in pain all you want to do is lie down and rest. However, according to WebMD, walking and doing other exercises such as swimming can actually help soothe pain. Not to mention, the more someone who suffers from chronic pain can walk, the better their mobility will become.

4. Walking can prevent diabetes or help keep it under control

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Walking can prevent or manage diabetes (Arka38/Shutterstock)

Diabetes is unfortunately quite rampant nowadays, because many people are a lot less active than they used to be decades ago. In addition to that, people are not always watching their caloric and fat intakes, which not only leads to obesity, but it leads to diabetes. However, according to Very Well Health, walking can not only help people prevent getting the disease but can help keep it under control for those who suffer from it. That is because walking helps keep the circulation going, which can have a positive impact on insulin and blood glucose levels, and it helps reduce abdominal fat which can be the culprit for those developing type 2 diabetes.

5. Walking helps promote weight loss and maintenance

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Walking to lose weight (Elena Nokh/Shutterstock)

Many of us have some extra pounds to shed, and one easy way to do it, in conjunction with proper nutrition, is by walking. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you walk a half hour a day, you can burn 150 calories alone. And, even if you walk for 15 minutes a day quickly, then you still will burn calories. Additionally, after taking a brisk walk, your body keeps burning calories for a while even once you sit down to relax, because your body is still at work, which burns calories. That is because it helps increase the levels of vitamin D as well as your heart rate which will keep your body working. If you want to lose weight a little quicker, then you can wake a brisk walk for a half-hour a day. However, you still will do quite well by taking a 15-minute brisk walk daily.

6. Walking can help prevent you from getting cancer

Walking can help prevent cancer
Walking can help prevent cancer (Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)

Cancer is a common disease that many people suffer from, unfortunately, and many cancer treatments are quite harsh, as well. With that being so, it can only be a good thing to reduce the risk of developing cancer. And, according to LiveScience, taking a short, daily brisk walk can help anyone reduce the risk of getting certain types of cancers such as breast, colon, and lung cancer.

7. Your sleep will improve

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Walking can improve sleep (Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock)

Many people around the world suffer from insomnia for many reasons. Poor sleep practices such as consuming caffeine late at night and spending too much time in front of the screen will have a negative impact on melatonin production, the hormone that regulates wakefulness. That means you will not end up sleeping well if this becomes a habit. However, according to Harvard Health, talking a short and brisk walk daily can help you with your melatonin production for when it is time to get some good-quality shut-eye. However, you also need to develop better sleep habits to support that, as well, by cutting your caffeine consumption by 2 p.m.

8. Your stress levels will go down

Walking can relieve stress
Walking can relieve stress (Bbernard/Shutterstock)

If you take a little time each day to walk, then it will have a positive impact on your stress levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, not only do the endorphins that are released through exercise help improve your overall mood, but they are great stress-relievers, too. Additionally, by walking, you can also reduce the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in your body. That in itself will help you lose weight and with your weight maintenance efforts, as well.

After reading about how your health can drastically improve just by setting aside 15 minutes a day to take a brisk walk, are you now ready to get moving? Regardless of whether you are under or over 60 years of age, you can easily preserve your health and live longer if you stay active! And all you need is 15 minutes to do that each day!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Miriam Slozberg contributed to this article.