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Study suggests new goal: 15,000 steps a day

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When it comes to heart health, it takes far more than an apple a day to keep the doctor away. It could take a daily goal of walking seven miles.

Results from a new study suggest that people should aim for 15,000 steps a day, which equals about seven miles, in order to keep the ticker strong, reports The New York Times. The number is an increase from the 10,000 steps goal that wearers of activity trackers, like the Fitbit and Jawbone, have adopted as a barometer to ward off heart disease.

The study, published this month in the International Journal of Obesity, covers research on 111 postal workers in Scotland.

Researchers ran a host of tests on each participant, looking for signs of increased risk for heart disease, and gave each participant an activity tracker to monitor their movement 24 hours a day.

After documenting their activity levels for a week, researchers discovered a sharp difference between the health of those with a desk job and mail carriers who walk most of the day.

Mail carriers who took 15,000 steps a day had no signs of an increased risk for heart disease. They also barely sat all day.

On the other hand, those who sat behind a desk were sedentary for up to 15 hours a day, and only needed to be sedentary for five hours daily to show increased risks for heart disease.

The researchers suggest people mix short walks with two, 30-minute-long walks daily to log the suggested 15,000 steps.

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