How much you need to walk for better health

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Here’s some encouraging news for everyone who dreads rigorous workouts or long-distance runs: you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap significant health benefits.

A recent study reveals a much simpler path to improving your health: walking.

Led by renowned cardiologist Maciej Banach, the research sends a clear message—walking about 4,000 steps daily can significantly lower your risk of dying from any cause.

To specifically reduce your risk of heart disease, aim for just over 2,300 steps. The beauty of this finding is that the more you walk, the healthier you get, with no apparent limit to the benefits.

This extensive study, the largest of its kind, examined the health data of 226,889 individuals from 17 different studies worldwide. It uncovered a simple truth: every step you add to your day significantly boosts your health.

Adding just 1,000 steps to your daily routine can decrease your risk of premature death by 15%, while an extra 500 steps can cut your risk of heart disease by 7%.

These benefits are consistent across all ages, genders, and regions, making walking a universally accessible and effective form of exercise.

Currently, over a quarter of the global population doesn’t engage in enough physical activity, putting them at higher risk for heart disease and other health complications.

This issue is especially pronounced in wealthier nations and among women. According to the World Health Organization, a lack of exercise is a leading cause of early death worldwide.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened our sedentary lifestyles, with activity levels still not returning to pre-pandemic norms even two years later.

Given that physical inactivity is linked to over 3 million deaths annually, finding simple, achievable ways to encourage movement is more critical than ever.

For older adults over 60, the study suggests that walking between 6,000 and 10,000 steps daily can reduce the risk of dying early by 42%. Younger individuals under 60 can achieve a 49% reduction in risk by walking between 7,000 and 13,000 steps a day.

While the study didn’t account for variables such as race, income levels, or existing health conditions, the overarching message is powerful: incorporating more walking into your daily life can significantly enhance your longevity and overall health.

Banach even suggests that walking might rival or surpass medication in preventing heart disease for the average person. So, before stressing over gym memberships or complex exercise plans, consider the simple yet profound power of walking.

It’s an easy, cost-effective way to boost your heart health and extend your life. Just lace up your shoes and take that first step towards a healthier future.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that pomace olive oil could help lower blood cholesterol, and honey could help control blood sugar.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that blueberries strongly benefit people with metabolic syndrome, and results showing eggs in a plant-based diet may benefit people with type 2 diabetes.

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