Road to 100 — One Step At A Time

Brian Lenahan
5 min readMar 19, 2021

How Walking Contributes to Healthy Aging

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I recently calculated (OK, Samsung Health did it for me) the number of steps I took over the 12 months of the calendar year 2020.

2,844,579 steps. 7,772 a day. 6.31 kilometres per day. Data gathered from my Samsung Active Watch 2. I think to myself, “Hey, Not Bad!” Yet is that a correct assessment if my goal is to live longer through walking? How do your steps help you on the Road to 100, or more succinctly, how does walking contribute to healthy aging?

According to the McMaster University Optimal Aging Portal, “most older adults do not use walking as their main mode of transportation…yet walking can lower the risk of heart disease, benefit those with chronic conditions, improve physical ability/function, and reduce pain.” As well, this basic form of exercise holds so many other benefits for those on the Road to 100, including strengthening muscles, joints, and bones (regular walking exercise promises to cut in half the number of those over 45 who fracture a hip), stabilizing weight, improving balance and coordination while reducing the likelihood of falling. It doesn’t stop there. Getting outside and walking enhances energy levels, stamina, and one’s confidence, and mood.

Physical Activity & Well-Being

A 2017 study by Panza et al. titled “Physical activity intensity and subjective well-being in healthy adults” found that there is a direct correlation between light and moderate exercise and psychological well-being, with the reverse being also true when people are sedentary and lower subjective well-being. It can become so easy to stay indoors during this pandemic period, at one’s desk, on numerous phone or ‘Zoom-type’ calls, and within easy reach to the refrigerator. Becoming sedentary is easily achieved yet with dire consequences.

One benefit you may not have considered is how walking heightens creativity. In 2014, Marily Oppezzo and Daniel L. Schwartz of Stanford University published a study titled “Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking.” The authors found that “Walking outside produced the most novel and highest quality analogies. The effects of outdoor stimulation and walking were separable. Walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.” As an author of five books and dozens of articles, I can tell you my best ideas come from walking outside.

The Road to Continued Independence

I, like many of my colleagues, intend to remain as independent as long as possible in life. To be sure, there are times when accidents or unanticipated health crises occur, limiting your healthy lifespan and ability to walk. Still, one can increase the probability of living independently longer through walking. Those who regularly walk (no need to sashay, glide or strut unless you want to) without assistance typically can do more around the house by themselves.

I’ve written extensively about the next chronic health challenge — hypertension. Walking can help reduce blood pressure and lessen anxiety or depression through deep, cleansing breathing while walking. If you grab a partner or listen to music or a podcast, walks can fly by and improve your overall health and social life.

Celebrities Walking

Some of the most well-known people from history have employed walking as a daily activity. Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple, would walk around Palo Alto, California, and hold walking meetings with staff to maintain focus and idea creativity. Charles Darwin, the author of the 1859 book “On the Origin of Species,” walked a nearby sand and gravel trail with his dog reviewing and mulling over his theories in his mind, continuing to walk daily well into his 60’s. Tchaikovsky and Beethoven were both adamant daily walkers to enhance their health and creativity.

Recently, Apple added a new celebrity feature to its Fitness Plus program. “Time to Walk” is a celebrity-guided walking workout with new walks added every Monday, February through April 2021. The program combines music, inspiration, and exercise suggestions via famous musicians, athletes, and actors like Dolly Parton, Shawn Mendes, and Draymond Green through Apple Watch and Fitness Plus.

Your Walking Tech

My Samsung Active Watch 2, combined with my Samsung S8+ mobile phone, records metrics like distance traveled, number of calories burned, number of equivalent floors climbed, number of days I reached my target, and total steps by day, week, month, or year. It gives me reminders to get up from my chair and to walk to reach my daily steps target and calculates my stride length based on my height and cadence or steps per minute. Linking steps to my Samsung Health app allows me to combine this data with sleep patterns, weight, heart rate, and manually input data like water intake (usually about 3–4 litres a day), food consumed, blood glucose, and blood pressure for a more holistic picture of my health. These insights can affect your behaviours concerning your exercise as you get used to their meaning and related options to improve them.


Living longer in a healthy, more independent way can be vastly improved by walking. It’s something most people can do but do not put enough emphasis on or sufficiently prioritize. Being able to do things around the house, store, or in society, in general, will afford you more opportunities to do the things you want to do longer. So, take your dog, a family member, a friend, and your smartwatch out for a walk today.

To Learn More:

If you would like to learn more about successfully navigating the digital health world and embedding the technology into your own health regimen, look for “Deep Health: Using Artificial Intelligence to Live Longer & Healthier” on Amazon, and see our contact information below.

#digitalhealth #ai #artificialintelligence #healthcare #healthtechnology #fitnesstechnology

Brian Lenahan is the author of four Amazon-published books on artificial intelligence including the Bestseller “Artificial Intelligence: Foundations for Business Leaders and Consultants”. He is a former executive in a Top 10 North American bank, a University Instructor, and mentors innovative companies in the Halton and Hamilton areas. Brian’s training in AI comes from MIT and he writes extensively on artificial intelligence and quantum computing.



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Brian Lenahan

Brian Lenahan, former executive, advanced tech consultant, author of four Amazon-published books on AI and the author of the upcoming book “Quantum Boost”