Three Times a Week, Walking 5,000 Steps Could Extend Your Life by Three Years

Three times a week, walking 5,000 steps could extend your life by three years, according to a London School of Economics (LSE) study.

Walking regularly for more than two years extends a man’s life expectancy by 2.5 years and a woman’s life expectancy by three years, according to research.

Approximately one-third of the British population is deemed physically inactive due to their participation in fewer than 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, which equates to roughly 22 minutes of vigorous walking daily.

According to the study, the NHS would save £15 billion annually and the burden of sickness and mortality on society would be lessened if half of the inactive population walked the recommended 15,000 steps each week.

Researchers from the LSE and health insurance company Vitality discovered that the advantages increased with age.

For instance, if persons 65 and older developed the habit of walking 7,500 steps three or more times a week, their chance of dying would be reduced by 52%.

For people 45 to 65 years old, this fell to 38%, and for the general population, it was 27%.

Exercise reduces obesity

Frequent exercise lowers the risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in inactive individuals, which can result in heart disease and other illnesses that shorten life spans.

According to research, if a 55-year-old with Type 2 diabetes starts walking 5,000 steps three times a week, their risk of dying could be lowered by 40%.

Diabetes affects about five million individuals in the UK and costs the NHS about 10% of its yearly budget, or about £160 billion.

The benefits of walking plateaued for those who walked 7,500 steps or more more than four times per week, according to a 10-year study involving one million people.

The findings imply that a lower daily step count is required for maintaining optimal health than the well recognised 10,000 steps per day, which was popularised by a Japanese marketing ploy in the 1960s.

Experts indicated that even a single day of 5,000 steps can improve health and potentially save the NHS £4 billion annually by reducing hospital admissions.

“The power of little behavioural adjustments”

The results, according to LSE health economics professor Joan Costa-Font, “provide a clear call to action for policy makers” to enhance public health.

“Effective habit-based interventions have the potential to increase life expectancy, result in significant cost savings for public health services, boost productivity, and aid in addressing the major long-term issues associated with mental health, social isolation, and non-communicable diseases like Type 2 diabetes and cancer,” the speaker stated.

Vitality’s CEO, Neville Koopowitz, stated that the study demonstrated “the power of small behavioural changes.”

“Taking consistent steps to achieve a health habit is key, and we can see within this data that it’s never too late to start,” he said. “This approach to habitual physical activity and exercise has the potential to completely transform and improve our collective health.”

It follows a study that was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine last week and indicated that steps taken above 2,200 a day improved heart health and mortality, with those who managed 4,000 a day reducing their risk of dying young by 20%.

Over a ten-year period, one million Vitality members from South Africa and the UK were studied for this study.

5,230 steps were averaged by those who logged their daily activities for at least five days a week.

It was discovered that the benefits of walking tapered off at 6,400 steps per day, which was less than for the general population, and that for those 65 and older, just 2,500 steps per day enhanced health and decreased the chance of death.