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The faster you walk, the longer you live

Strong medical evidence shows the faster we walk, the fewer health problems we will have and the longer we will live.

How active should we be? Ten thousands steps is a popular number- a number suggested by a Japanese marketing campaign. Most Japanese people ages 65 to 74 meet the daily goal.

Many Americans do not come close to reaching that goal. The average white older adult walks slightly more than 5,000 steps a day and the average older African-American, about 3,800 each day. Middle-aged Americans come the closest and average around 9,622 steps each day. However, middle-aged Americans with type 2 diabetes only walk 6,600 step a day despite the fact exercise may improve their condition.

However, a Harvard study suggests that 6,000 steps a day can make a difference. Dr. Ralph Paffenbarger studied 17,000 Harvard alumni who were between 53 to 90 in 2001. He found that men who walked briskly nine or more miles a week had a 21% lower risk of death from heart disease than those who walked less than three miles a week.




If the thought of walking 10,000 or even 6,000 steps is overwhelming, start slowly. Another study suggests that the health of those who are disabled and elderly improves simply if they walk to and from the mailbox instead of staying in the house.


Increasing physical activity keeps us healthy as we age.




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