Walking has been long known to help lower your heart attack risk, but do you know the number of steps you need to take in order to improve your chances against it?

In a recent study featured on TIME, researchers examined 9,306 adults from 40 countries who were part of a fitness program that involved at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. All the participants were provided a pedometer to monitor the number of steps they took during the trial as well as during the follow-up a year later.

Taking into account the participants' diets and medical histories, researchers found that taking an extra 2,000 steps a day or roughly 20 minutes of moderate-paced walking helped lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. In fact, prior to the study, a participant who took the said number of steps lowered his heart problem risk rate by 10 percent by the end of the year.

During the study, he enjoyed an additional 8 percent lower risk. The good news is that as much as healthy individuals enjoy these additive benefits, so do those who have high risk of diabetes, as walking may cut their chances of experiencing a heart episode or a stroke by 8 percent.

The effects of walking are cumulative, so if you wish to jump start your healthy lifestyle, taking the first 2,000 steps is one of the best ways to go.

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(Photo by jeremyfoo via Flickr Creative Commons)

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