Charge up your FitBits and Apple Watches. According to a new study published in JAMA Network Open, walking about four miles– or 8,000 steps– one to two days a week could drastically reduce early death risk.
Regular exercise has been known to lower the risk of mortality. And according to the Mayo Clinic, walking can be used as a regular activity to reduce the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and depression.
But, the new study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, and Kyoto University in Japan specifically analyzed the health benefits that can be reaped from walking intensively for just a few days each week.
The research included step count data collected from 3,100 adults in the United States in 2005 and 2006. Then, the participants’ mortality data was examined 10 years later.
The study revealed that the individuals who walked 8,000 steps or more for one or two days each week had a 14.9% lesser chance of dying over a 10-year period as opposed to the individuals who never reached that step count.
Plus, the participants who walked 8,000 steps or more for three to seven days each week saw an even lower mortality risk– decreasing by 16.5%.
The health benefits of going on 8,000-step walks for one or two days a week were also greater among individuals aged 65 years and older.
“The number of days per week taking 8,000 steps or more was associated with a lower risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality,” the researchers concluded.
“These findings suggest that individuals may receive substantial health benefits by walking just a couple of days a week.”