NEW research has discovered that walking just 1,000 steps per day could increase your life span.
The findings were presented this week at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention | Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Conference. The findings showed that those who took more steps per day were at a significantly lower risk of death than those who were less active.
Previous evidence already showed that walking has a range of benefits such as better sleep quality, cardiovascular improvements and improvements in mental health. However, you don’t have to go on lengthy hikes to make these improvements, small spurts of steps during the day and squeezing them into everyday activities has the same benefits.
Dr Elizabeth Gardner, a Yale Medicine sports medicine specialist and a team physician at Yale Athletics, told Healthline: “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.”
Researchers evaluated 16,732 women aged 60 and older who wore a step counter on their waist between 2011 and 2015, dividing the participants into two groups – longer walks of at least 10 minutes and short bursts such as walking to the car. Researchers identified a huge 32 per cent decrease in death among those who walked at least 2,000 steps per day, and each increase of 1,000 steps decreased death by 28 per cent.
“Walking is also an excellent whole-body exercise. It utilises not only the muscles of the whole leg but also the core and gluteus muscles for stability and propulsion,” Gardner said.
Gardner said making small changes in your day is the best way to get in more steps: “Not only do these small changes add up, because you don’t need to push yourself enough to sweat, you shouldn’t need to change clothing when you return to your normal daily activities.”