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Forget 10,000 steps: Just 4,000 a day has amazing effects

Older couple walking 10,000 steps
10,000 steps has long been set as the benchmark, but a new study has found that 4,000 steps can improve life expectancy. (Getty Images)

We all know by now we should aim for 10,000 steps per day to stay fit and healthy. But, spending that long walking daily isn't feasible for all of us which is why news that under half this amount could still help you live longer is most welcome.

A large-scale research analysed 226,889 people from 17 studies and found that people were less likely to die from all causes if they clocked 3,967 steps per day. Meanwhile, walking just 2,337 steps per day decreased their risk of dying from a heart attack.

Read more: How fast you walk is more important than doing 10,000 daily steps - Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read

It also found that adding 1,000 steps to your regular daily count could reduce the risk of dying by 15%, Walking an extra 500 steps per day can decrease your chance of dying from cardiovascular disease by 7%.

The research team, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Medical University of Lodz in Poland, found that health benefits continued to multiply with the greater amount of steps taken.

Jack Russell Terrier dog on leash running with owner
Young adults who walk between 7,000 and 13,000 steps per day can decrease their risk of early death by 49%. (Getty Images)

Additionally, young adults who walk 7,000 to 13,000 steps per day reduced their risk of death by 49%. Older adults who walked between 6,000 and 10,000 steps daily decreased their risk by 42%.

"Our study confirms that the more you walk, the better," Professor Maciej Banach from the Medical University of Lodz, says. "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."

Read more: 12 expert-approved weight loss tips good for both body and mind - Yahoo Life UK, 7-min read

Why moving is so important

Sedentary lifestyles pose a strong risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to the World Health Organisation, lack of physical exercise is the fourth leading risk of mortality in the world.

It says that people who are insufficiently physically active have an increased death risk of 20% to 30% than those who do 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days per week.

The idea of walking 10,000 steps per day actually came from a marketing campaign for the pedometer ahead of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics - but it’s one that has been lauded by health professionals ever since.

Read more: How to start working out: A beginner's guide to getting fit for the first time - Yahoo Life UK, 10-min read

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Watch: Walking speed 'more important' than hitting 10,000 steps per day