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December 3, 2018. Wow, 48th Monday of the year. Just four more after today.

The first Monday of every month has been a simple, gentle one-minute Way to improve your health – with a little bit of movement. The second, third and fourth Mondays of the month have brought you easy Ways to increase your flexibility, balance and strength, respectively. When a month comes with five Mondays, well, we do something else for the fifth.

Today’s really something else. Because it’s about walking and running – and because it’s a part of the Better Cheaper Slower Gift Guide. My series of thoughtful, healthy gifts for the people you love, including yourself. We’ll get to the Gifts of Balance and Strength. And the Gifts of Revelation and Wonder. A new one every day for the next couple of weeks. But let’s start with

The Gift of Longevity
The evidence is overwhelming. Regular walking and running is repeatedly and closely associated with longer, healthier lives. Check out the sidebar and its links to the research reports.

So how do you help somebody start the habit of regular and frequent walking and running? Heck, how do you get yourself to start doing it? I have some thoughts for you.

For somebody who could be running
I’d impress her or him with a couple of facts. One: you could live six years longer if you jog at a moderately slow, not fast, pace a few times a week. Two: Running a not-so-grand total of 52 minutes per week is associated with an extra three to six years of life.

For somebody who could be walking
I’d use these facts. Regular, moderately brisk walking is associated with dramatic reduction in risk for premature death, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. Brisk walking may well be the best way to establish and maintain weight control, a leading contributor to good health and greater longevity.

Of course, it’s not just the facts, ma’am. Now I’d give The Gift

Shoes for Running and Walking
Whether you’re gonna run or walk- you need shoes. Lightweight, comfortable, naturally supportive shoes. My happy feet run in these back-to-the-future shoes from Altra. They’re shaped like feet and they have flat heels. Non-elevated heels that keep me on my toes and prevent me from landing on my heels – and sending shockwaves up my legs to my spine. These are my no-aches-and-pains shoes.

More important, they have a very wide “toe box”. That’s the front of the shoe. It’s actually foot-shaped: designed to let your toes spread out, naturally and comfortably. So they actually work like toes. Ten little stabilizers that are amazingly good at keeping you balanced. And comfortable. They make you feel like you could go for miles. When I walk and hike, these shoes are on my feet.

Indoor Walking and Running, the Cheaper Way
Get a Step Deck. $25. Takes up less than two square feet of floor space. Fits under your bed or in a closet when you’re not stepping up. No batteries. Nothing to plug in, install or connect. You just Walk This Way. And Run This Way. It really works. Every day. Weather is irrelevant. And it’s always just steps away, in your own home.

Indoor Walking and Running, the Better, not Cheaper Way
Get a Treadmill. Whether you walk, run or incline-train, these machines are great. Effective, time-efficient cardiorespiratory exercise when you run. Easy and comfortable when you walk. I’m on mine 5 or 6 days a week. Sure, I go outdoors in great weather. But when I can’t …

Treadmill Trails: Don’t Just Run In Place. Run In Great Places
99 cents for each one of my 30-minute HD videos that puts you on a spectacularly beautiful trail and keeps you moving forward. Listen to me, your trail guide – or listen to the music you have on your smart phone or tablet. Makes 30 minutes feel like 10. Really. For 99 cents.

A BCS subscriber e-mailed me recently to say he was the definitive Better Cheapskate. Watches his Treadmill Trails while he runs in place – on the living room carpet. Not even a Step Deck. No shoes. And the videos make his daily 30 minutes feel like no time. Check it out!

Get it on Google Play

Regular jogging shows dramatic increase in life expectancy
I thought you’d want to know. How dramatic? Six years of extra life. 6.2 more for men who jog; 5.6 more for women who jog. Compared to men and women who don’t jog.

How regular? Between 1 and 2.5 hours per week.

How fast? Slower, actually. The participants who reported their pace to be “slow” or “moderate” show the greatest increase in longevity. Here’s the story from the Copenhagen City Heart Study.

Just 52 minutes/week?
In a review study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, experts found running about six miles a week — or 52 minutes — may add from three to six years to your life. No need to start running marathons to improve your health and extend your life.

Moderately Brisk Walking Does The Trick
In this research study subjects who walked a moderately brisk 3 mph, a very brisk 3.75 mph and a race-walking 4.5 mph all benefitted similarly in terms of reduction in risk for premature death, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia.

Compared to the no-walking and slower-walking groups, their “all causes” risk was 44% lower. And much lower for dementia.

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