Walking even a little more each day could provide some big benefits when it comes to reducing your risk of heart diseases or stroke, according to a new study. 

The study released by the American Heart Association on Thursday, revealed that with an additional quarter mile of walking each day, or 500 additional steps, the risk of heart diseases lowers for people ages 70 and up by approximately 14 per cent.

The finding are based on a closer examination of the health data for 452 older individuals in a larger study, in which participants were asked to wear an accelerometer device to track their daily step count.

Dr. Erin Dooley, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama, said that similar studies in the past “have focused on early-to-midlife adults with daily goals of 10,000 or more steps, which may not be attainable for older individuals.”

The average age of participants in this study was 78 and the average number of steps taken each day was 3,500. 

Compared to adults who took less than 2,000 steps per day, the study found that adults who took around 4,500 steps per day had a 77 per cent lower risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event.

Over a nearly three-and-a-half year period following the study, close to 12 per cent of adults who took less than 2,000 steps per day experienced a cardiovascular event compared to the 3.5 per cent of adults who walked around 4,500 steps per day.

“While we do not want to diminish the importance of higher intensity physical activity, encouraging small increases in the number of daily steps also has significant cardiovascular benefits. If you are an older adult over the age of 70, start with trying to get 500 more steps per day,” Dooley said in a news release.

The study revealed that further research is required to determine if meeting a higher daily step count prevents or delays cardiovascular diseases or if lower step counts are associated with underlying diseases.