In contrast to previous thinking, a person’s risk of dying prematurely starts to reduce at just 2337 daily steps, the largest analysis of its kind has found.
The research published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology found that walking at least 3967 steps a day starts to reduce the risk of dying from any cause. While 2337 daily steps was enough to reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
That said, the more a person walked, the greater the benefits seen were. There was an extra 15% reduction in risk for every further 1000 steps taken, with benefits continuing to be seen up to 20,000 steps (the upper limit of study participants).
The researchers followed 226,889 people from around the world for an average of seven years, and discovered the biggest benefit of all was for those under 60. There was a 42% reduction in risk of death for those aged 60 and over walking between 6000 and 10,000 steps a day, while younger adults who walked between 7000 and 13,000 steps saw as much as a 49% reduction.
According to data from the WHO, 3.2 million people a year die from a lack of physical activity. In fact, insufficient physical activity is the fourth most frequent cause of death in the world. Average physical activity reduced as a result of Covid and has yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels.
Professor of Cardiology at Medical University of Lodz, Maciej Banach said: ‘In a world where we have more and more advanced drugs to target specific conditions such as cardiovascular disease, which was a main hero of our analysis, I believe we should always emphasise that lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, … might be at least as, or even more effective in reducing cardiovascular risk and prolonging lives.’
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