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4,000 daily steps could 'reduce risk of death'

Posted on the 10th August 2023

Walking 4000 steps

While taking 10,000 steps a day has long been hailed as key to staying fit and healthy, a new study suggests fewer than 4,000 could still be enough to see benefits.

Scientists at the Medical University of Lodz in Poland and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US found walking benefits all genders and ages.

The review, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, looked at studies in which people's daily steps were measured for at least a week.

These people, with an average age of 64, were followed up for an average of seven years to see how many died early, from any cause or from cardiovascular disease.

This allowed researchers to work out how many steps a day were taken by people who did not die early, compared to the daily step count of those who died.

As a result, they could estimate the minimum number of daily steps needed to fall into the group of people who are less likely to die early.

They found at least 3,867 and at least 2,337 steps a day were the points at which a lower risk of death from any cause and from cardiovascular disease respectively appeared to begin.

However, the more steps someone can manage each day, the better, the study found, with every 1,000 extra steps a day linked to a 15 per cent reduction in the risk of dying prematurely for any reason.

According to World Health Organization data, insufficient physical activity is responsible for 3.2 million deaths yearly - the fourth most frequent cause worldwide.

While the study may be good news for those not keen on walking, many health experts refer to those who manage less than 5,000 daily steps as ‘sedentary’.

Related: The secret to good health? Exercise and ‘satisfying’ relationships

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