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Only 4,000 Steps A Day May Increase Your Lifespan: Study

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Walking 4,000 steps a day reduces the risk of early death and is enough to stay fit and healthy, according to a new study released by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. 

The research states that walking 2337 steps a day reduces the risk of death by cardiovascular disease by half and walking 3967 steps a day reduces the risk of dying from any cause.

However, a recent observation of 226,889 participants from 17 different researches carried out worldwide pointed out that the more one walks the more advantageous it is for his or her health. Chance of death by cardiovascular disease or any cause significantly reduces with every 500 to 1000 more steps you walk. 

Researchers led by Maciej Banach at the Medical University of Lodz in Poland and the Ciccarone Centre for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine discovered that walking as many as 20,000 steps a day increases health benefits. The research has not yet explored the upper body. 

Prof. Banach said, “Our study confirms that the more you walk, the better.” He said, “We found that this applied to both men and women, irrespective of age, and irrespective of whether you live in a temperate, sub-tropical or sub-polar region of the world, or a region with a mixture of climates. In addition, our analysis indicates that as little as 4,000 steps a day are needed to significantly reduce deaths from any cause, and even fewer to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease.”

Having an inactive lifestyle may increase the chances of cardiovascular disease and even early death. Over a quarter of the world’s population practices inadequate physical exercise, according to studies.

It is said that more women than males, and people living in developed and wealthy nations indulge in less exercise as compared to those in developing countries. The  World Health Organisation states inadequate physical activity is the fourth cause of death all over the world as an estimated 3.2 million deaths is linked to lack of physical activity. Further, the rate of physical activity has come down on account of the coronavirus pandemic and has not improved two years later.

“Until now, it’s not been clear what is the optimal number of steps, both in terms of the cut-off points over which we can start to see health benefits, and the upper limit, if any, and the role this plays in people’s health. However, I should emphasize that there were limited data available on step counts up to 20,000 a day, and so these results need to be confirmed in larger groups of people”, said Dr. Ibadete Bytyçi, a senior author of the paper from the University Clinical Centre of Kosovo, Pristina, Kosovo.

This review not only reveals the outcomes of walking up to 20,000 steps a day but also points out the existing differences based on age, sex, or people living in different parts of the world. For people who are 60 years or older, the risk of death is less than those who are 60 years younger.

Prof. Banach said, “In a world where we have more and more advanced drugs to target specific conditions such as cardiovascular disease, I believe we should always emphasize 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.”

“We still need good studies to investigate whether these benefits may exist for intensive types of exertion, such as marathon running and iron man challenges, and in different populations of different ages, and with different associated health problems. However, it seems that, as with pharmacological treatments, we should always think about personalizing lifestyle changes.”

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