Activities such as walking are accessible and achievable for many people; and, the health benefits of walking are exponential for something that is relatively simple and inexpensive. It’s no secret regular physical activity has been linked to a decreased risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, along with improved lipid profiles. Walking can also help reduce the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States; in fact, even a small increase in steps can have a profound impact on cardiovascular health.
Find your sneakers, get out for a walk! The article from Healthline discusses new research finding more steps each day could help you live longer.
The findings, which were presented today at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Conference, found that people who took more steps each day had a significantly lower risk of death than those who were less active.
The health benefits were consistent among people who walked in uninterrupted sessions and those who walked in short spurts.
Prior evidence has found walking to have a range of positive health effects, from cardiovascular improvements, better sleep quality, and improved mental health.
You don’t need to commit to lengthy strolls each day to improve your health. Squeezing in spurts of steps through everyday activities has the same health benefits.
“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,” Dr. Elizabeth Gardner, a Yale Medicine sports medicine specialist and a team physician at Yale Athletics, told Healthline.
Walking appears to cut the risk of death
The researchers evaluated 16,732 women ages 60 and older who wore a step counter on their waist between 2011 and 2015.
Each participant’s steps were divided into two groups: longer walks lasting at least 10 minutes and short bursts of walking, such as going upstairs or walking to the car.
The researchers followed up with the study participants for an average of 6 years, until 2019.
They identified a 32 percent decrease in death among those who took at least 2,000 steps a day.
Each increase of 1,000 steps a day was associated with a 28 percent decrease in death.
The health benefits, which plateaued around 4,500 daily steps, were similar among people who walked in short bursts and those who took longer, uninterrupted walks.