Walking fast is just as beneficial as getting your steps in for your health, new evidence has identified.

Research conducted by the University of Sydney and the University of Southern Denmark has found that walking 10,000 steps at a fast pace can prevent the development of dementia, cardiovascular disease and cancer. In addition, brisk walking reduces the risk of an early death.

More than 78,000 people took part in the study by wearing a fitness device that measured their walking pace and daily step count. The team of academics also examined the health records of each participant.

They found that the pace of a walk is just as important as how far you walk when it comes to combatting various medical conditions.

Chief author Dr Matthew Ahmadi said: “The take-home message here is that for protective health benefits people could not only ideally aim for 10,000 steps a day but also aim to walk faster.

“For less active individuals, our study also demonstrates that as low as 3,800 steps a day can cut the risk of dementia by 25 per cent.”

Co-author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis said: “Step count is easily understood and widely used by the public to track activity levels thanks to the growing popularity of fitness trackers and apps, but rarely do people think about the pace of their steps.

“Findings from these studies could inform the first formal step-based physical activity guidelines and help develop effective public health programmes aimed at preventing chronic disease.”

According to previous research, people with a higher number of average daily steps tend to naturally walk at a faster pace.

Dr Ahmadi added: “The size and scope of these studies using wrist-worn trackers makes it the most robust evidence to date suggesting that 10,000 steps a day is the sweet spot for health benefits and walking faster is associated with additional benefits.

“Going forward more research with longer-term use of trackers will shed more light on the health benefits associated with certain levels and intensity of daily stepping.”

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