In the January 2011 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, research which verified that gait is a reasonable prediction of life expectancy was revealed. The research followed nine cohort studies over a period of fourteen years and found that accurate longevity predictions could be made from measurements of gait. In simple terms, this study found that older Americans with faster walking speeds can be expected to have longer lives than those with slower walking speeds. This is because walking speed, or gait, tends to increase with physical fitness.

This research backs up many other studies that have shown walking to be valuable for human fitness. The easiest way to add walking into your life is to make use of home exercise equipment. Elliptical workouts, morning walks on a treadmill, and other in-home workouts can benefit your health a lot more than you may realize.

Health Benefits of Walking

Studies have shown that those who walk throughout their lifetime experience a few benefits others miss out on. Walkers are better able to control their cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. They are at less risk of becoming diabetic, and may be at lower risk for heart disease. Due to the muscle tone and calorie burn associated with walking, they are also more likely to maintain a healthy body weight. They tend to have more lean muscle mass than non-walkers as well.

The reduced risk of developing life-threatening disease alone explains how routine walking can predict a longer life span. While walking may be difficult for those who are out of shape, it is a simple activity that can be started at a slow pace. Over time, cardiovascular conditioning and endurance increases along with the speed of walking naturally achieved.

How to Develop a Walking Routine

If you have functioning legs, you can develop a walking program that keeps you physically fit on the inside and youthful on the outside. It does not matter how old you are or what is going on in your personal life. If you can give up twenty minutes or more a day, you can start walking and reap all of the fitness benefits.

Start by mapping out all of the potential walking routes in your neighborhood. Find local parks with tracks or stretches of grass that can be walked. Also purchase some type of fitness equipment for the home. This will allow you to workout anytime of the day or night, regardless of the weather.

The most common pieces of exercise equipment for residential use include:

Elliptical Trainers
Exercise Bikes
Rowing Machines
While there are also benefits to biking and rowing, treadmills and elliptical trainers are more suitable to walking. Many people prefer elliptical trainer workouts, since the machines are more compact than treadmills. An elliptical will also be gentler on your joints and muscles, so you are less likely to sustain injuries.

You will be more successful if you include home exercise on your own equipment as well as outdoor walking sessions in your plan. Set specific times that you will walk on specific days of the week. Consistency is the key to getting the fitness and health benefits listed above.

Walking, Energy Levels, and Metabolism

Walking is just as important for professional athletes as it is for common people just trying to age as gracefully as possible. Whether you are a pro football player or a stay-at-home mother, you will benefit from increased energy levels and a faster metabolism when you take up walking. You can even experience enhanced performance for other sports when you start walking regularly.

Walkers have enhanced cardiovascular endurance, which makes it easier for them to move around in daily life as well. Everything from picking up babies to bending over to pick up something dropped in the floor becomes much easier and safer when walking is a part of the daily routine.

With the simple addition of regular walking workouts, you will find it much easier to maintain your weight and fight off disease as you get older. It is time to expand your predicted life span. Lace up the sneakers and jump on the elliptical to start your workouts today.

Author's Bio: 

While Joel has been an old time sports fan, he just recently discovered the power and health benefits of a walking routine. Although he likes to go out for a walk, Joel realizes that home exercise equipment makes it easy to enjoy walking and elliptical workouts. He created a specialized site where you can read more about elliptical trainer machines.