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Get walking for a longer life

More daily steps 'boosts life expectancy'
Photo: More daily steps 'boosts life expectancy'
Research using pedometers shows increasing the number of steps walked each day is linked to living longer.

Step up to live longer.

While we all know walking is good for us, new research shows that increasing the daily number of steps is linked to living longer.

The study by The George Institute for Global Health and the Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania is published in PLOS ONE journal.

It monitored 3000 Australians over 15 years, with each participant being given a pedometer.

Data was collected at the beginning and again approximately five years later to measure the number of steps taken each day, said study author Professor Terry Dwyer.

"Participants were an average age of 58.8 years old at commencement and the major end point was death due to any cause," he said.
A sedentary person who increased his or her steps from 1000 to 10,000 a day, seven days a week, was found to have a 46 per cent lower mortality risk.

If increased to 3000 a day five days a week, the person had a 12 per cent lower risk.

The association between daily steps and mortality was largely independent of factors such as Body Mass Index and smoking, Prof Dwyer said.

Previous studies have measured physical activity by questionnaire only.

But Prof Dwyer said this study was the first to use pedometers to make the link between exercise and reduced mortality over time in people who appeared healthy at the outset.

"Exercise should now be seen as a potential means of increasing longevity.

"We know through this research, that daily step count is inversely associated with all-cause mortality.

"People who increase their daily steps appear to have a substantial reduction in mortality risk.

"Pedometers and activity devices are growing in popularity so the ability to measure and realise the benefits of exercise are at everyone's fingertips and we should all take advantage."


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