Why Pavement Pounding is Good for You

We all know walking pretty much anywhere is good for our health, after all, walking gets our heart rate up, helps our endurance and strengthen our bones but according to one study, walking in urban environments will help you get fitter, quicker.

Although there’s no disputing that walking in parks, woodland or the countryside is hugely beneficial­–being in nature can help lower stress levels and improve your mood as well as your fitness–but waking in cities and built-up areas is a tougher workout and increases the pace at which you walk, which will get you fitter in the long run. Better still, the same study that examined a group of participants walking in urban areas with no traffic versus areas with lots of greenery and less traffic, found that people tended to walk faster without even realising it, suggesting that you’re likely to be exerting yourself more–and reaping the rewards–without actively trying.

Walking at a faster pace isn’t just good news for your health, strength and endurance, of around 100 steps a minute has been shown to increase your health and can even slow down biological ageing over time. According to another study, a lifetime of brisk walking could lead to the equivalent of 16 years younger biological age by midlife thanks to a link between brisk walking and telomere length. Telomeres are the caps at the end of each chromosome which hold repetitive sequences of DNA that protect the chromosome from damage. Every time a cell divides, the telomeres become shorter, until a point where they become so short that the cell can no longer divide.

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