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Want to live longer? Go take a hike. Literally. Two recent studies point to daily walking as the key to a longer life.

Simply taking a brisk half-hour daily walk, the average person can tack on as much as three years of extra life, according to research from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and the University of Florida.

The Erasmus study found that the length of additional life increased by the amount of physical activity. Those who exercised moderately lived an average of 1.5 years longer than their couch-potato counterparts; those who exercised more strenuously lived a full 3.5 years longer. And the study found a good quality of life in the bonus years: Those who lived longer were mostly free of heart disease. …

The University of Florida research focused on how much walking qualified as adequate exercise. Turns out walking briskly three to four days a week provides the same cardiorespiratory benefit as walking moderately for 30 minutes five or more days a week. …

So walking will not only help you live longer, it will help you live better. And, if you decide to get a gallon of milk and a few light groceries on your walk, you'll get a little more exercise. And save on gas to boot. …

In a world where we turn more and more frequently to health fads, miracle diets and drugs to improve our lives, it's nice to know that the road to better health really begins right outside of our own front door.

The (Joliet) Herald News

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