In a new study of 17,000 women, those who walked briskly for an average of nearly 70 minutes daily had up to a 70% lower risk of death compared to the least active women who moved just 8 minutes a day. The study also found the benefits were significant mainly for women who participated in moderate to vigorous exercise.

“Overall, this study’s results are consistent with other evidence that repeatedly demonstrates the importance of regular activity, like brisk walking,” said American Heart Association spokesperson Dr. JoAnn Manson.

“This study provides further evidence that you can literally walk away from the grim reaper. Exercise really is as close as we come to a magic bullet for good health. Exercise reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, depression and cognitive [mental] decline,” Manson said.

Researchers didn’t rely on people to tell them how much they exercised. Instead, the women in the study wore a fitness device to measure how much they were moving.

The average age of the participant was 72, and the average of moderate to vigorous activity was 28 minutes a day. The women also did 351 minutes, on average, of light physical activity daily, including housework or slow walking (such as window shopping). The women were sedentary for 503 minutes a day, the study revealed.

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