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Number of steps you need to walk every week to add ‘three years’ to your life

Number of steps you need to walk every week to add ‘three years’ to your life

It turns out that getting in 10,000 steps a day isn't actually the be-all and end-all.

'One step at a time,' we tell ourselves while having another 9,999 to complete.

For longer than we can remember, it's been hammered home to us that ten thousand steps a day will keep the doctor away and the excess weight off of you.

But it turns out that we might not have to put one leg in front of the other that many times to increase our life expectancy.

New research suggests that you don't have to drag your feet and hit that five-figure mark for your walk to be worth anything, as a much shorter period of movement can do just a good job.

The London School of Economics and health insurance firm Vitality launched a study back in 2013 in the hopes of finding out the best ways to form and maintain lifelong habits to stay in good shape.

The decade-long probe also investigated the science behind how healthy habits can lead to a longer life span, while looking at the walking habits and overall health of over one million people in the UK and South Africa.

Experts found that around a third of the UK population is 'inactive', which explains the continuing rise in the number of people suffering from chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, which in turn leads to more hospitalisations.

The researchers reckon that if Brits achieved the new weekly step target they have recommended - rather than the scary 10,000 mark which often puts people off - it could save the NHS a whopping £15 billion every year.

And if that isn't a good enough reason to get moving, what is?

It turns out 10,000 steps isn't the be-all and end-all anymore.
Getty Stock Images

Well, the added bonus is that you can add up to three years onto your life if you take the experts' advice - which is sneaking in just 5,000 steps a day, three times a week.

That's only 15,000 a week - and I'm sure most of you will be halfway there after whizzing round Tesco from one end to the other while you're doing the weekly shop.

The study found that taking a 5,000 step stroll three times a week for two years can boost a bloke's life expectancy by 2.5 years, while it can increase a woman's by three years - on top of the boost to your mental health that comes with it.

But if you want to take full advantage of all the benefits your body can get from getting your steps in, sticking with your daily goal of 10,000 is a great idea.

The research revealed that those who manage and sustain a habit of taking 10,000 a day three times a week over a three-year period can reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 41 percent.

And those with ants in their pants who walked 10,000 steps five times a week had their risks of developing the diseases reduced even further, as it was slashed by 57 percent.

Walking 5,000 steps three times a week can boost your life expectancy.
Getty Stock Images

Taking the experts' advice will obviously benefit everyone, but the study found that older people got the most out of stretching their legs health-wise.

It discovered that after walking more than 7,500 steps three times a week, over-65s were at least 52 percent less likely to suffer premature death.

People aged 45-65 saw a 38 percent slash, while the risk for the total population was reduced by 27 percent.

Neville Koopowitz, Vitality CEO, explained: "Taking consistent steps to achieve a healthy habit is key, and we can see from this data that it’s never too late to start."

The insurance firm's founder, Adrian Gore, added: "Healthy habits can profoundly extend the quality and length of life.

"Our data shows the impact is not only significant but applies across ages, risk factors, and health statuses — maintaining a small amount of physical activity has lasting health impacts.

"Given the role of behaviour in health risk globally, a better understanding of the mechanisms of habits can be a powerful way to improve individual health — and to evolve our healthcare systems to prioritise preventive health."

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: Health, Mental Health, UK News, News