Walking can be one of the most therapeutic forms of exercise which doesn’t require any pricey gym memberships or fancy fitness equipment.

Many tend to take a walk to clear their minds after a busy and stressful day, breathing in the fresh air and exhaling all of life’s everyday worries.

But walking 4,000 steps a day could be enough to reduce a person’s "risk of death".

Some may track their daily steps on fitness watches and smartphones to achieve personal goals, but a new study found there are many health benefits.

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Why could walking 4,000 steps 'reduce' your risk of death?

Research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that the number of steps a person needs to walk each day to benefit their health could be lower than previously thought.

The experts found that walking at least 3,967 steps a day helped a person start to reduce their risk of dying from any cause.

They also discovered walking at least 2,337 steps a day started to reduce the risk of dying from heart disease.

If people walked as many as 20,000 steps a day, the health benefits continued to increase, the researchers said.

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They also found that the risk of dying from any cause or from cardiovascular disease (diseases of the heart and blood vessels) decreases “significantly” with every 500 to 1,000 extra steps a person walks.

The data also reported that walking an extra 1,000 steps a day was associated with a 15% reduction in the risk of dying from any cause.

Meanwhile, an increase of 500 steps a day was associated with a 7% reduction in dying from cardiovascular disease.

The study focused on information from 227,000 people which was the largest of its kind to date, and did conclude that the more a person walks, the lower the risk of premature death.

The Northern Echo: The study found an increase of walking 500 steps a day was associated with a 7% reduction in dying from cardiovascular diseaseThe study found an increase of walking 500 steps a day was associated with a 7% reduction in dying from cardiovascular disease (Image: Getty)

What did the experts say?

Academics, led by Maciej Banach, professor of cardiology at the Medical University of Lodz in Poland, and adjunct professor at the Ciccarone Centre for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US, also examined 17 different studies and tracked those who took part for seven years.

Professor Maciej Banach said: “Our study confirms that the more you walk, the better.

“We found that this applied to both men and women, irrespective of age, and irrespective of whether you live in a temperate, sub-tropical or sub-polar region of the world, or a region with a mixture of climates.

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“In addition, our analysis indicates that as little as 4,000 steps a day are needed to significantly reduce deaths from any cause, and even fewer to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease.”

“In a world where we have more and more advanced drugs to target specific conditions such as cardiovascular disease, I believe we should always emphasise that lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, which was a main hero of our analysis, might be at least as, or even more effective in reducing cardiovascular risk and prolonging lives.”

Dr Ibadete Bytyci, from the University Clinical Centre of Kosovo, and senior author of the paper, added: “Until now, it’s not been clear what is the optimal number of steps, both in terms of the cut-off points over which we can start to see health benefits, and the upper limit, if any, and the role this plays in people’s health.

“However, I should emphasise that there were limited data available on step counts up to 20,000 a day, and so these results need to be confirmed in larger groups of people.”