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People who count their steps with a pedometer still have the exercise bug four years later

People who count their steps with a pedometer still have the exercise bug four years later and boost their long-term heart health, study finds

  • Patients who were asked to count steps for a year still exercised four years later
  • Five more minutes of walking a day would cut heart attacks strokes and fractures
  • For every 1,000 people, there would be 15 fewer heart attacks and strokes and 35 fewer fractures over the study period, researchers said 

The NHS could save considerable amounts of money – and lives – by handing out pedometers, researchers have claimed.

Patients who were asked to count their steps for 12 months still had the exercise bug four years later.

They were among 1,300 people given pedometers and split into two groups for a 12-month British study. For the first group, a nurse suggested simple measures to increase exercise such as getting off the bus a stop early.

Patients who were asked to count their steps for 12 months still had the exercise bug four years later

The second control group had the pedometers but were not coached by a nurse. Both groups were initially doing around 7,300-7,500 steps a day – but by the end of the trial, those encouraged to do extra steps had added an average of 600 more a day. This represented 90 additional minutes of moderate exercise a week.

The habit stuck, and those initially encouraged to exercise more were still outstripping those in the control group four years later.

The researchers said just five extra minutes of walking a day would prevent large numbers of heart attacks, strokes and fractures. For every 1,000 people, there would be 15 fewer heart attacks and strokes and 35 fewer fractures over the study period, they said.

Professor Tess Harris led the research at St George’s University Hospital in Tooting, south London. She said: ‘An extra half an hour walking a week is not much to ask but it can really reduce your risk of a heart attack, fracture or a strokes. It works out at just five minutes a day.

The researchers said just five extra minutes of walking a day would prevent large numbers of heart attacks, strokes and fractures. For every 1,000 people, there would be 15 fewer heart attacks and strokes and 35 fewer fractures over the study period, they said

The researchers said just five extra minutes of walking a day would prevent large numbers of heart attacks, strokes and fractures. For every 1,000 people, there would be 15 fewer heart attacks and strokes and 35 fewer fractures over the study period, they said

‘With each stage of these trials we have seen that simple short-term pedometer-based walking interventions can produce an increase in step-counts – and now we can see corresponding long-term health effects. This type of intervention can have a long-lasting effect and should be used more widely to help address the public health physical inactivity challenge.’

She said that preventing large numbers of heart attacks, strokes and fractures could also save the NHS a large amount of money.

The research was published in PLOS Medicine.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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