Time and time again, we hear about the pros and cons of different medications. Statins, for example, help millions around the world lower their cholesterol – but as recently reported, they could also lead to faster ageing and a lower quality of life.
But sometimes, thankfully, the path to good health isn’t all that complex. Now we know of something that can have just as big an effect in reducing overall risk of death: simple day-to-day walking.
An staggering new Australian study has revealed that inactive people who increase their step count could nearly halve their risk of mortality.
This huge project followed 2,500 Tasmanians, who measured their steps via pedometer, over the course of a decade.
If you lead a sedentary life, just a tiny increase in daily steps – from 1000 to 3000, for five days a week – can reduce the risk of mortality by 12%, completely independent of other health factors such as smoking or weight.
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Those who increased their step count to 10,000 (five days a week) had the risk of death lowered by nearly 50%.
The authors described these effects on mortality as similar to the overall benefits of statins.
It’s hardly news that walking is good for you. However, this is just one of many recent studies to reveal just how big a difference it can make.
Back in August, we learned that a brisk 25 minute walk each day could halve the risk of a heart attack. Researchers for that study suggested it could not only extend the lifespan, but stunt the process of ageing, improve mental sharpness and protect the brain against the onset of dementia.
They emphasised that it’s never too late to start, having recorded marked benefits among those who started improving their step count at 70 and 80 years old.
But is 10,000 steps truly a realistic goal? Not always, but there are some great techniques to slowly work up to it. Click here to read our guide on getting started!
Do you walk regularly? Do you keep a pedometer? And does this discovery make you want to walk more?