Older adults who walk three to four miles per day are 40 to 50 per cent less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than those who walk a mile per day.
These recent findings were based on data from eight studies involving 20,152 people aged 18 and up who had their walking measured by a device and their health tracked for an average of more than six years, according to The Washington Post. The more steps were taken by those aged 60 and up, the lower their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
However, the study found no link between steps taken and CVD risk in young adults. The probable reason for that, the researchers wrote, is that CVD "is a disease of ageing" generally diagnosable until risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes have progressed for years.
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The researchers did not find any link between walking distance and specific types of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart failure or arrhythmia, but rather with heart disease in general. The study also discovered no additional benefit from walking at a faster pace.
An earlier study from the same research group, published in the Lancet last March, discovered similar links between steps taken by older adults and a lower risk of death from any cause, as did a September study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. However, that study also discovered that a faster pace increased risk reduction.
One of the September study's lead researchers was Dr Matthew Ahmadi, from the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre.
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He concluded the findings by saying: "Going forward, more research with longer-term use of trackers will shed more light on the health benefits associated with certain levels and intensity of daily stepping."
"The size and scope of these studies using wrist-worn trackers make it the most robust evidence to date, suggesting that 10,000 steps a day is the sweet spot for health benefits and walking faster is associated with additional benefits," he added.