LIVING HEALTHY Published November5, 2015 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

Increased Walking Cuts Death Risk by Almost 50%

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(Photo : Michael Dodge | Getty Images Sport)

If you want to delay dying, you might as well begin walking some more. A new study released by an independent medical research group showed that increasing your number of steps per day can help reduce your overall mortality risk by around 46%.

Although there have been many previous studies that connect walking and healthy living, as well as walking and mortality, most of them relied on self-reported activities by answering questionnaires. This study by George Institute for Global Health found in Sydney, Australia, is the first to provide a more robust finding since walking was measured through pedometers, a portable device that counts the number of steps based on the motion of the hips or hands.

The research, led by Prof Terry Dwyer in collaboration with Tasmania's Menzies Research Institute, tracked the walking activities of around 3,000 men and women who lived a sedentary lifestyle but appeared healthy at the beginning of the study. The average of the participants from the start to the end point, which includes their death, is 58.8. Each of the participants received a pedometer, and their walking data is assessed within the next five years.

The findings reveal that sedentary individuals who walked at least 1,000 steps a day can reduce their mortality risk by 46% if they increased their activity by 10,000 steps. If you find walking 10,000 steps too much, you can reduce it by at least 3,000 steps a day for five days per week and still cut down your death risk by 12%.

This research also shed light on a number of important points about healthy living. One, inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle is a serious problem since it can contribute to the increased risk of obesity. Obesity, meanwhile, is linked to chronic diseases including heart disorders, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes. Further, Prof Dwyer believes that the government can create community programs that encourage more walking and decrease risk of obesity and mortality.

For more of the study, visit PLOS ONE.

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