Research suggests increasing your daily step count can boost longevity but how ...

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One of the most encouraging insights to come out of health research is that a little exercise goes a long way to boosting your lifespan. Even more encouraging is the impact walking can have on your overall health. The low-intensity exercise can build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier, notes the NHS.

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Research published last year suggests these benefits accrue the more steps you do.

Findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests it is not the intensity but the number of steps taken each day that provides the most benefits.

The research was a collaborative effort between the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) - both parts of the National Institutes of Health - as well as from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"While we knew physical activity is good for you, we didn't know how many steps per day you need to take to lower your mortality risk or whether stepping at a higher intensity makes a difference," said Pedro Saint-Maurice, Ph.D., of NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, first author of the study.

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READ MORE: How to live longer: Brisk walkers reduce cardiovascular & cancer mortality by 20 percent

Research suggests 8,000 steps a day can slash your risk of mortalityHow to live longer: Research suggests 8,000 steps a day can slash your risk of mortality (Image: Getty Images)

"We wanted to investigate this question to provide new insights that could help people better understand the health implications of the step counts they get from fitness trackers and phone apps."

To investigate the impact of increasing daily step count, the research team tracked a representative sample of U.S. adults aged 40 and over.

Approximately 4,800 participants wore accelerometers for up to seven days between 2003 and 2006.

The participants were then followed for mortality through 2015 via the National Death Index.

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