There's one simple just one simple form of exercise that can keep blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, joint problems or mental health in check - walking.
So says Mayo Clinic researcher James Levine, M.D., Ph.D., an expert on obesity, who insists that all people need to do is walk to keep healthy.
"Getting out there and taking a walk is what it's all about. You don't have to join a gym, you don't have to check your pulse. You just have to switch off the TV, get off the sofa and go for a walk," he said.
Dr Levine's conclusion is based on a study undertaken by physicians from the Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine in Matsumoto, Japan, that determined that high-intensity interval walking may protect against high blood pressure and decreased muscle strength among older people.
As a part of that study, the Japanese researchers studied 246 adults over a period of five months who engaged in either no walking or moderate to high-intensity walking. The group who engaged in high-intensity walking experienced the most significant improvement in their health, the researchers found.
Dr. Levine says the study lends credence to the notion that walking is a legitimate, worthy mode of exercise for all people.
He also insists that unlike a health club membership or personal trainer, walking "is there for everyone," and the best part is that you don't need to shelve out a pretty penny to get into shape with this form of exercise.
"Walking doesn't cost you anything, you can do it barefoot and you can do it now, this minute," he says.
"Sitting is bad for cholesterol, it's bad for your back and muscles. It's such a terrible thing for our bodies to do and the less of it you do, the better. But activity is not easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it," he added.
Dr Levine's editorial appears in the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.