Walking 8,000 Steps Just Once or Twice a Week May Help You Live Longer, New Study Says

Researchers found that participants who hit or exceeded this threshold were less likely to die over a 10-year period.

In recent years, walking has become a desirable alternative to other forms of exercise, like strength training and high intensity interval workouts. And for good reason, too—studies have shown that walking may lower your risk of heart disease and improve brain health. But if you don't have time for a long walk every day, you're in luck. According to a study published on Tuesday, walking 8,000 steps just once or twice a week may help you live longer.

The research, which was published in the JAMA Network Open, sought to uncover whether health benefits were present when walking intensely only a few days a week. To obtain their findings, researchers analyzed the daily step-count data of 3,100 U.S. adults between 2005 and 2006. Ten years later, researchers examined the participants' mortality data.

two women walking exercising together

Among the participants, 632 took 8,000 steps or more zero days a week, 532 took 8,000 steps or more one to two days a week, and 1,937 took 8,000 or more steps three to seven days a week.

They found that people who walked 8,000 steps or more one of two days a week were 14.9 percent less likely to die over a 10-year period than those who never hit that threshold. Additionally, participants who walked 8,000 steps or more three to seven days a week cut their mortality risk by 16.5 percent. The health benefits of walking this many steps once or twice weekly were higher for people 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 said. "These findings suggest that individuals may receive substantial health benefits by walking just a couple of days a week."

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