A Daily Walk ‘Lowers the Risk of Death’, But There’s A Catch, Shows Study

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Longevity is something that every human being ultimately strives for, with experts always on the lookout for ways to enhance quality of life. Leading an active lifestyle as opposed to a sedentary one has been proven to have lasting effects on one’s health.
Walking is a simple exercise that most people enjoy and has been proven to enhance quality of life. New research has now supported the theory that a stroll can maximise longevity and stave off the risk of premature death for people of different ages. However, there is a catch.
A meta-analysis of 15 studies into walking, known to reduce blood pressure and increase your maximum rate of oxygen consumption (VO2 Max) involved nearly 50,000 people age 18 and older from across four continents.
According to the research, results of which were published on 2 March in Lancet Public Health, it sought scientific evidence to support the much-touted 10 000 steps per day recommendation. The latter, they wrote, referred to a decades-old marketing campaign for a Japanese pedometer.
Furthermore, the new study went deeper, to determine the links between number of steps per day, stepping rate and their impact on all-cause mortality in adults aged from 18 years and older.
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The analysis was led by University of Massachusetts Amherst physical activity epidemiologist Amanda Paluch, supported by an international lineup of scientists, forming the Steps for Health Collaborative.
The analysis grouped the participants into four comparative groups according to average steps per day. Thus, the lowest step group averaged 3,500 steps; the second, 5,800; the third, 7,800; and the fourth, 10,900 steps per day.
The researchers discovered that among the three groups who took more steps a day, there was a 40-53 percent lower risk of death, as compared to the groups where participants walked fewer steps.
Furthermore, specifically for adults 60 and older, risk of premature death could be staved off at about 6,000-8,000 steps per day.
Adults younger than 60 could stabilise the risk of premature death by ensuring they took about 8,000-10,000 daily steps.

“So, what we saw was this incremental reduction in risk as steps increase, until it levels off. And the levelling occurred at different step values for older versus younger adults,” underscored Paluch.

However, in an interesting twist, the research could not find any definitive association with walking pace. In other words, what mattered was getting in your steps if you wanted to lower risk of death.
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The new research feeds into earlier findings from another study led by Paluch, published last September in JAMA Network Open.
At the time, the research found that walking at least 7,000 steps a day reduced middle-aged people’s risk of premature death.
In line with the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, dated 2018, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity every week. Accordingly, Amanda Paluch and her team have been touting walking as a simple and accessible physical activity.
“Steps are very simple to track, and there is a rapid growth of fitness tracking devices. It’s such a clear communication tool for public health messaging,” said Paluch. She added that the main takeaway was that moving even a little more was beneficial.
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