You don't have to walk as much as you think you do to stay healthy

You don't have to walk as much as you think you do to stay healthy
Walking speed 'more important' than hitting 10,000 steps per day

Everyone thinks you need to walk 10,000 steps a day to stay fit and healthy but fitting in all that pacing around can sound like a huge challenge.

Luckily, a new study has shown fewer than 5,000 steps may be enough to see a health benefit.

The study, from the Medical University of Lodz in Poland and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US, analysed more than 226,000 people around the world and found that walking 4,000 steps was enough to start reducing the risk of dying prematurely of any cause.

They found that just over 2,300 is enough to benefit the heart and blood vessels and that the more you do, the more health benefits are seen.

Every extra 1,000 steps beyond the 4,000 reduced the risk of dying early by 15 per cent up to 20,000 steps, the researchers found.

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It found the walking benefits applied to all genders and ages, regardless of where they lived and that the biggest benefits were seen among the under-60s.

Prof Maciej Banach, from the Lodz university, said: "I believe we should always emphasise that lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, which was a main hero of our analysis, might be at least as, or even more, effective in reducing cardiovascular risk and prolonging lives."

According to World Health Organization data, insufficient physical activity is responsible for 3.2 million deaths each year - the fourth most frequent cause worldwide.

Walking can give you endorphins, strengthen bones and muscles and lower blood pressure. Other benefits include boosts to your mental health and important time away from screens and other distractions.

So tie up your laces, and get walking.

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