3 Reasons to Run or Walk For Your Life

New studies suggest regular exercise may help you live longer and healthier

  1. Buys you time. Data from the Framingham Heart Study, a 40-year study of 5,209 people, suggest that people walking 30 minutes a day for five days a week (or an equivalent amount of other exercise) add about a year and a half to their lives. Those who push themselves a little harde running instead of walking, for example add three and a half years on average.
  2. Keeps you sharp. A slew of studies suggest that regular physical activity can help maintain memory and other aspects of brainpower. A 2007 study out of Texas Tech University showed that exercise boosts a key neurochemical that allows brain cells to communicate. At Oregon Health & Science University, researchers studying a group of people in their late eighties found that those who remained active were two to five times more likely to avoid memory loss and other cognitive deficits.
  3. Preserves agility. Findings from the Rush Memory and Aging Project at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center recently showed that exercise puts the brakes on the decline in motor function associated with age. That may be one reason, along with maintaining strength, that physical activity helps prevent falls, one of the leading causes of "Dietary Fiber" listing is also important the higher the better. With higher-fiber foods (more than 5 grams of fiber per serving), you can subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate count, since some of the carbohydrate in a high-fiber meal isn't as available to be digested, when compared with a low-fiber meal of similar total carbohydrate content. That allows you to squeeze a few more carbohydrates into your meal while still staying on track with your daily carbohydrate goals.

Reprinted with permission from EatingWell Magazine.