2,000 extra daily steps = 10% lower risk

In this global study, adults over 50 who were at high risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes who walked an additional 2,000 steps a day—about 20 minutes of brisk walking—reduced their risk of having a cardiovascular “event,” such as a heart attack or stroke, by 10 percent over the next six years.

“Other than not smoking, nothing comes close to physical activity for prevention,” says Dr. Church. “Hundreds, if not thousands, of papers support it.” Achieving the goal of being physically active for 150 minutes a week, including strength training a couple of days a week, can reduce your cardiovascular risk by about 25 percent, he says. “There’s a dose response, which means the more you exercise, the more you benefit.” The biggest benefit, though, comes from going from sedentary to mildly active, such as walking 10 minutes a day. Says Dr. Church, “The biggest bang is just getting off the couch.”

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