Walking 8,000 steps per day just on weekends can lower the risk of death, a Japanese research group has found.
People who walked at least 8,000 steps daily on one or two days per week saw a drop in the risk of death after 10 years that was about the same as that among people who walked the same amount three to seven days per week, said the group, which included Kyoto University's Graduate School of Medicine.
The study was published in the American Medical Association's JAMA Network Open medical journal last month.
Previous research had shown that walking 8,000 steps or more per day can reduce the risk of death. But it was unclear how the risk may vary depending on the number of days spent walking that many steps.
The team used data from a U.S. national health survey conducted between 2005 and 2006, studying the relationship between daily steps walked by 3,101 people aged 20 or older with the average age at 50.5 and the risk of death 10 years later.
Among those who walked at least 8,000 steps per day on zero days, one or two days and three to seven days, the three-to-seven-day group logged a mortality rate 16.5 percent, lower than that for the zero-day group, while the rate for the one-or-two-day group was 14.9 percent.
When the research group limited the cause of death to diseases related to the heart and blood vessels, the rate was 8.4 percent lower for the three-to-seven-day group and 8.1 percent lower for the one-or-two-day group.
"There is no need to feel pressured to walk every day," said Kosuke Inoue, assistant professor at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine at the time of the research's publication, and who recommends walking on weekends.