A long walk only twice a week to live longer? If it is known that the practice of regular physical activity reduces the risk of mortality, a study published in the JAMA Network Open review looked at the health benefits of vigorous walking just a few days a week. And the results are very positive: walking 8,000 steps, or nearly 6.4 km, once or twice a week significantly reduces the risk of early death.
Researchers from Kyoto University and the University of California, Los Angeles analyzed data from 3,101 American adults. They found that those who walked 8,000 steps or more, once or twice a week, were 14.9% less likely to die over a 10-year period than those who didn’t reach that milestone.
For those who took these long walks three to seven times a week, the risk of death fell even further, by 16.5%. The health benefits of these hikes of 8,000 steps or more, once or twice a week, seem even more marked for people aged 65 and over.
4,000 steps per day on average
“The number of days per week that someone walks 8,000 steps or more was associated (in the study) with a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality and all other causes,” according to the scientists. “This work suggests that individuals can achieve significant health benefits from walking only a few days a week,” they continue.
For this study, the researchers studied the daily steps recorded by the participants between 2005 and 2006 and then studied their mortality ten years later. Of the participants, 632 people failed to reach the 8,000 step limit on at least one day a week; 532 people reached or exceeded them once or twice a week; and 1,937 people did so three to seven times a week.
On average, Americans walk 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, according to data from the Mayo Clinic, which states that walking as a regular physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression.