The secret to living longer may have been staring you in the face the whole time. 

A new study from scientists in Norwich suggests that those who take the stairs rather than using lifts will live a longer life.

Research indicates that regularly taking the stairs reduces the risk of dying early by almost 25pc.

These findings were showcased at a conference in Greece for the European Society of Cardiology’s Preventive Cardiology.

The report also says that using the stairs and not the lift can improve heart health, reducing the risk of heart disease by almost 40pc. 

Dr Sophie Paddock is a researcher at the University of East Anglia and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Foundation Trust. 

Dr Paddock said: “If you have the choice of taking the stairs or the lift, go for the stairs as it will help your heart.”

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Lack of exercise has been linked to one in six deaths in the UK, according to the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. 

Recommendations from the NHS say that two and a half hours a week of moderate exercise should be enough for adults to stay healthy. 

Dr Paddock added: “Even brief bursts of physical activity have beneficial health impacts, and short bouts of stair climbing should be an achievable target to integrate into daily routines."

As well as reducing the risk of early death, taking the stairs increases heart health.

Poor heart health can lead to diseases such as heart failure and can increase the risk of a stroke too. 

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Dr Paddock said: “Based on these results, we would encourage people to incorporate stair climbing into their day-to-day lives.

“Our study suggested that the more stairs climbed, the greater the benefits – but this needs to be confirmed.

“So, whether at work, home or elsewhere, take the stairs.”