Take more steps - live longer

9 November 2015

9 November 2015

Amanda Davey

walking just as effective as statins at reducing risk of premature death

Step up and live longer is the main message from a landmark study that shows a daily walk can reduce the risk of a premature death.

The Australian study shows:

  • A sedentary person who increases his or her steps from 1000 to 10,000 per day has a 46% lower risk of dying in the next 10 years; and
  • A sedentary person who increases his or her steps to 3,000 per day, 5 days a week has a 12% reduction in premature death.

The authors say this is the first time anyone has been able to make the link between objectively measured exercise (measured directly through pedometers) and reduced risk of death over time in people who appeared healthy at the onset.

The study involved over 3000 middle-aged adults, who were followed-up over 15 years.

The researchers say the beneficial effects on survival are as significant as those from taking statins, the popular cholesterol-lowering medicines.

The results confirm that a higher number of steps walked each day is direct correlated with living longer. This association is largely independent of factors such as BMI and smoking.

“This shows more clearly than before that the total amount of activity also affects life expectancy,” says author Professor Terry Dwyer from The George Institute for Global Health.

In the study the participants were given pedometers and data was collected at the beginning and again approximately 5 years later to measure the number of steps they took each day.

Last Reviewed: 9 November 2015

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References

Dwyer T, Pezic A, Sun C, Cochrane J, Venn A, Srikanth V, et al. (2015) Objectively Measured Daily Steps and Subsequent Long Term All-Cause Mortality: The Tasped Prospective Cohort Study. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0141274. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141274
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