Walking up to 10,000 steps a day reduces the risk of heart disease and early death, even if one sits a lot for the rest of the day, according to new research. The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, discovered that each step beyond 2,200 steps a day helps, with the most benefits seen between 9,000 and 10,500 steps.

Researchers from the University of Sydney analysed data from over 70,000 people, around 61 years old, from the UK Biobank. Participants wore a device for a week to track their steps. After seven years, there were 1,633 deaths and 6,190 heart-related events like heart attacks or strokes.

The study found that walking 9,000 to 10,500 steps daily lowered the risk of early death by 39% and heart attacks or strokes by over 20%. Even walking more than 2,200 steps a day showed health benefits, which increased with more steps. Half of these benefits were seen at 4,000 to 4,500 steps a day.

Julie Ward from the British Heart Foundation emphasised that daily activity is crucial for a healthy lifestyle and reducing heart disease and stroke risk. She encouraged aiming for 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, such as walking, gym workouts, or taking exercise classes. 

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