9th April 2023 – (Kyoto) A recent study conducted by a Japanese research group, including experts from Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Medicine, has found that taking 8,000 steps per day on weekends alone can significantly lower the risk of death. The study, published in the prestigious American Medical Association’s JAMA Network Open medical journal last month, sheds new light on the relationship between walking and mortality rates.
Previous research had already established that walking 8,000 steps or more per day can reduce the risk of death. However, this latest study aimed to understand how the frequency of walking affects the risk of mortality. The team analysed data from a U.S. national health survey conducted between 2005 and 2006, involving 3,101 participants aged 20 or older, with an average age of 50.5 years.
The researchers found that people who walked at least 8,000 steps per day on one or two days per week saw a similar drop in the risk of death after 10 years as those who walked the same amount three to seven days per week. Specifically, the mortality rate for the three-to-seven-day group was 16.5 percent lower than that for the zero-day group, while the rate for the one-or-two-day group was 14.9 percent lower.
Furthermore, when the research group specifically looked at deaths related to heart and blood vessel diseases, the rates were even lower for those who walked on weekends. The three-to-seven-day group had an 8.4 percent lower mortality rate, and the one-or-two-day group had an 8.1 percent lower rate compared to the zero-day group.
The findings of this study challenge the notion that walking every day is necessary to reap the benefits of physical activity. “There is no need to feel pressured to walk every day,” says Kosuke Inoue, assistant professor at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine and one of the researchers behind the study. “Our findings suggest that even incorporating brisk walks on weekends alone can have a significant positive impact on overall health and longevity.”
This research comes as welcome news for those who may struggle to find time or motivation to walk every day due to busy schedules or other constraints. Weekends, which are typically associated with leisure and relaxation, can now be seen as an opportune time to prioritize physical activity and reduce the risk of death.
Walking is often hailed as one of the most accessible forms of exercise, requiring no special equipment and easily adaptable to different fitness levels. It can be done anywhere, anytime, and at no cost, making it an ideal option for people of all ages and backgrounds. Regular walking has been linked to a plethora of health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, weight management, mood enhancement, and reduced risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension