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Walking for Transport May Extend Lifespan of Older Australians

Walking for Transport May Extend Lifespan of Older Australians

In a world where healthy living has become synonymous with structured fitness routines and gym memberships, a new study from Monash University suggests that something as simple as walking for transport could be the key to longevity, particularly for older Australians.

The study, published in BMJ Public Health, followed 11,539 Australians aged 70 and older, focusing on their transport-related walking habits.

Those who walked for transport at least once a week experienced a 25% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who did not. This finding underlines the significance of incorporating regular, purposeful walking into daily life.

Simple Lifestyle Changes, Significant Health Impact

Participants in the study reported their frequency of walking for transport in four categories: never, rarely/once a week, more than once a week, or every day. An impressive 44.1% walked every day, 31.5% more than once a week, and 21.7% rarely or once a week.

Only 2.7% reported never walking for transport. Adjusted for age, sex, and lifestyle factors, the results emphasise that even walking rarely or once a week can reduce mortality risk by 27%.

Building Safe Walking Environments

Senior author Associate Professor Danijela Gasevic stresses the importance of quality public infrastructure and government initiatives to support walking as a mode of transport. “Good paths, well-connected roads, and safe environments can make walking for transport sustainable and accessible,” she says.

These initiatives could encourage more people to embrace this simple, cost-free exercise.

Incorporating regular walking for transport not only improves health and longevity but also fosters community connections and contributes to environmental sustainability.

As the study suggests, the most significant health benefits are seen when people move from doing no activity to walking for transport at least once a week.