New evidence confirms that regular exercise can affect multiple systems in your body as well as your life span.
We have known for a long time that exercise is key to good cardiovascular health. However, the benefits of physical activity extend to other components of good health that may surprise you. Recent studies have shown an association between exercise and a decreased risk of diabetes, dementia, and bone health and even an increase in life expectancy.
A study published online November 19, 2012 in the journal Menopause found that walking 6,000 or more steps a day was associated with a decreased risk of diabetes, metabolic disease, and cardiovascular disease in middle-age woman.
In the study, women between the ages of 45 and 72 wore pedometers and recorded their numbers of steps for seven days. Those who took 6,000 or more steps per day were less likely to be obese or to have diabetes, metabolic disease (a precursor to diabetes) or heart problems.
"Six thousands steps corresponds to about three miles" says Polly de Mille, RN, RCEP, CSCS, USAT, an exercise physiologist at the Weill Cornell-affiliated Hospital for Special Surgery. "This is consistent with American Heart Association guidelines for the amount of exercise needed for good health. Taking 6,000 steps a day on a regular basis also should result in musculoskeletal and psychological benefits."