GOOD news for workers chained to their desk who are unable to do regular exercise: the "treadmill desk" is becoming a common sight in larger offices across the US, enabling workers to walk while they work - and stroll themselves thin. Some workers are losing as much as 25kg a year.
But can people get enough exercise just from walking? is a stroll sufficient to raise the heart rate and create a fitness dividend? According to some recent studies the answer is yes and now, depending on your age and general state of health.
While a slow walk burns calories at a quarter the rate of a steady run and won't increase your fitness, a regular, brisk walk, particularly uphill, achieves an appreciable cardiovascular training effect, according to a recent study published in the Australian Journal of Primary Health.
It seems that a regular long walk becomes increasingly important as we age, slowing down degeneration in limbs and even improving memory and reducing the risk of dementia, says extensive new research published in Neurology.
For those over 50, a regular walk is essential if you are no longer able to run, cycle or swim.
And pick up the pace: walking speed is one of the best indicators of how long you'll live because of the way it changes body chemistry for the better.