How to live longer: A simple activity could reduce risk of early death by 70 percent

How to live longer: A simple activity could reduce risk of early death by 70 percent

09/06/2021

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As most are aware, exercise goes a long way to helping boost your longevity. Walking is a low-intensity exercise which builds stamina, burns excess calories, makes the heart healthier, and improves mental health. Researchers have pinpointed the exact amount of step counts you should aim for to reap the full health benefits.

A new study has delved into certain activities one can adopt during middle-age which is said to help cut the risk of early death by 70 percent.

US researchers found that simply walking just 7,000 steps a day could have significant benefits on one’s overall health and longevity.

The study of middle-aged adults found those who managed the goal of around 7,000 steps or 3 miles showed to be enough to help protect against serious illnesses and were less likely to die over the next decade.

A team of researchers from the University of Massachusetts looked at 2,100 adults whose ages ranged from 38 to 50 and all wore a step count for over a year to track their average steps and its impact on their health.

The participants were divided into groups including those who walked less than 7,000 steps being classified as low step counts, the next group were the moderate step counts averaging around 7,000 to just under 10,000 and high being over 10,000 steps a day.

The results revealed participants who undertook 7,000 steps a day having between 50 and 70 percent reduction in risks from early death.

It was also revealed that deaths in men who took at least 7,000 steps a day fell by 58 percent and rose to 72 percent for women.

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Prior evidence has found walking to have a range of positive health effects, from cardiovascular improvements, better sleep quality, and improved mental health.

In the short term, people who walk more have improved body composition and fitness. In the long term, more daily steps can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, cardiac events, and death.

Physical activity like walking can also boost muscle strength and help prevent falls and injuries.

Dr Amanda Paluch, lead author of the study in the JAMA Network Open journal, said the results were irrespective of the speed at which people walked.

She explained: “Wearable patient monitoring systems are emerging as personalised medicine tools for the prevention and management of chronic conditions.”

Dr Elizabeth Gardner, a Yale Medicine sports specialist added: “Walking is the easiest and cheapest form of moderate exercise.

“Aside from supportive shoes, it doesn’t require any specific equipment, and because you don’t need to push yourself hard enough to sweat in order to reap the benefits, you don’t even need special clothes.”

How to increase your daily step count

The easiest way to walk more is to make walking a habit.

“Think of ways to include walking in your daily routine,” advises the NHS.

The health body recommends trying the following:

  • Walking part of your journey to work
  • Walking to the shops
  • Using the stairs instead of the lift
  • Leaving the car behind for short journeys
  • Walking the kids to school
  • Doing a regular walk with a friend
  • Going for a stroll with family or friends after dinner.

It adds: “Walking while listening to music or a podcast can take your mind off the effort.”
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