Walking may help prevent weight gain and obesity, as well as chronic disease, new research suggests.
At least 8,200 steps per day have been linked to a lower risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and depression.
11,000 steps a day can prevent overweight people from developing obesity, the study finds.
A daily walk may help prevent weight gain and prevent diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, according to a study published Oct. 10 in Nature Medicine.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University looked at an average of four years of data from activity trackers worn by 6,042 adult Americans to compare their habits and health outcomes.
They found that taking at least 8,200 steps per day was associated with a lower risk of obesity, depression, sleep apnea and acid reflux, and the benefits increased with every 1,000 additional steps. Walking was also linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, but the benefits seemed to peak between 8,000-9,000 steps per day.
For people who were already overweight, taking 11,000 steps a day reduced their risk of developing obesity by 64%, according to the data.
Because the study included people who already owned a Fitbit, participants are likely to be more active than the general population, according to the researchers. But they think their findings probably apply to everyone — and may be even more relevant to less active people.
“The fact that we were able to detect robust associations between steps and disease in this active sample suggests that even stronger associations may exist in a more sedentary population,” they said.
Combined with diet and other healthy lifestyle habits, walking can also help you lose and maintain weight, experts previously told Insider.
Walking also increases longevity and mental health, studies show
The latest research extensively corroborates previous evidence that walking may lower the risk of premature death from causes such as cancer and heart disease, as well as help prevent dementia and other age-related cognitive decline.
You also don’t have to walk miles to reap the benefits. The popular goal of 10,000 steps per day is not scientifically substantiated and was developed by advertisers to bring the first commercial pedometer to market.
According to a recent study, increasing your steps by a small amount each day would help, with each additional 2,000 steps per day linked to better health.
Walking at a faster pace can magnify the benefits even more: A speed of just under three miles per hour (112 steps per minute) is a good goal, some research suggests.
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