While regular physical activity is known to reduce the risk of mortality, the study published in the journal JAMA Network Open looks at the health benefits of walking just a few days a week.

Researchers from Kyoto University and the University of California, Los Angeles analyzed data on 3,101 U.S. adults.

They found that those who walked 8,000 steps or more, once or twice a week, were 14.9 percent less likely to die over a 10-year period than those who did not reach that level.

For those who took these long walks three to seven times a week, the risk of mortality fell even more, by 16.5%.

The health benefits of these hikes of 8,000 steps or more, once or twice a week, seem even more pronounced for people aged 65 and older.

"The number of days per week that someone walks 8,000 or more steps was associated (during the study) with a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality and all other causes," the scientists said.

"This work suggests that individuals can achieve significant health benefits by walking just a few days a week," they continue.

For this study, the researchers studied the daily steps recorded by the participants between 2005 and 2006 and then studied their mortality ten years later.

Among the participants, 632 people failed to reach the limit of 8,000 steps at least one day a week; 532 people reached or exceeded them once or twice a week; and 1,937 people did so three to seven times a week.

On average, Americans walk 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, according to Mayo Clinic data, which says walking as regular physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression.

© 2023 AFP