Walking 8,000 steps just once or twice a week could improve health

With our ever-growing schedules and workloads, it can be hard to find the time to work out.

But a new study has found that walking could be all you need for a healthy and longer life.

And if you’re someone who struggles to get your 10,000 daily step count in during the week, new research says there’s no need to panic.

A new study – which was published in JAMA – has revealed that, specifically, 8,000 steps once or twice a week may be enough to improve health.

Researchers found that people who walked 8,000 steps or more (around four miles) once or twice a week had cardiovascular perks and lower mortality rates that were nearly as good as those who did the same distance every day. 

In terms of findings, people who walked at least 8,000 steps once or twice a week had a 15% lower risk of dying in the next 10 years. Whereas those who hit 8,000 or more steps three to seven days a week had a 16.5% lower risk – compared to individuals who took very few steps a day. 

Overall, it’s good news for ‘weekend warriors’ – those who only have time to exercise at weekends.

Researchers said: ‘The study’s findings suggest that, for adults who face difficulties in exercising regularly, achieving the recommended daily steps only a couple days a week may have meaningful health benefits.’

Also, Dr. Kosuke Inoue of Kyoto University in Japan, who led the study, added: ‘Given that a lack of time is one of the major barriers to exercise in modern society, our findings provide useful information to recommend walking even for a couple of days per week to reduce mortality risk.’

So, on the whole, there’s no need to beat yourself up if you can’t hit your daily step count – as walking for a longer period another day could be just as beneficial for your health and mortality.

It is worth pointing out that this study doesn’t take into account other activities which may help heart health, like cycling or swimming.

And experts do stress the more you move in general (even in small amounts), the better is it for your health – anything to get away from a damaging sedentary lifestyle.

‘Physical activity is good for your bones, brain, immune system, stress levels, and for your sleep,’ Dr Holly S. Andersen, M.D told Prevention.

‘Physical activity is the fountain of youth. Prolonged sitting is detrimental to your health. Do not sit in front of your computer all day—get up and move at least once an hour.’

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