Older adults who walk three to four miles (4.8-6.4 km approx) per day, or 6,000 to 9,000 steps, are 40 to 50 per cent less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than those who walk a mile (2,000 steps) per day, according to research published in the journal Circulation. The 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, a US-based news outlet.
The more steps taken by those aged 60 and up, the lower their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). 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 aging” generally diagnosable until risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes have progressed for years. 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.
However, the health benefits of walking have been the subject of numerous studies and ongoing debates. 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.