Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a common aspiration, and walking emerges as a crucial part of this, supported by multiple studies. Regular walking is acknowledged for its positive impact on health, mitigating risk factors, and enhancing overall well-being. In an age of wearable technology, the concept of tracking daily steps has gained traction. However, there is still lack of clarity regarding the appropriate number of steps for optimum health benefits. The common guideline often emphasises achieving 10,000 steps per day for an active routine. However, recent research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology challenges this notion, showing that even 4,000 steps a day, in any setting, could reduce the overall risk of death. Exceeding even half this number appears to reduce the chance of cardiovascular death.
This finding shouldn’t discourage anyone from taking a longer stroll as the researchers discovered that moving more reduces the chance of early mortality by about 15% for every additional 1,000 steps taken each day. However, it adds to a growing body of evidence that says exercises don’t always need to be difficult or prolonged to benefit your health. Studies have demonstrated that a variety of activities, including dance, cleaning, and walking, can improve well-being. (Also read: How many steps people with diabetes should walk for managing blood sugar levels )
How Many Steps Should You Walk Daily for Optimal Health?
As steps walked each day are a frequently researched indicator of physical activity, a team of researchers examined 17 previous publications on walking and health to arrive at the new findings. More than 225,000 people, with an average age of 64, participated in these trials together. Some of them were in generally good health, whereas others had cardiovascular disease risk factors. They were monitored for an average of seven years.
Researchers found that mortality risk decreases over time when people walk more after analysing the data from those trials. Up to 20,000 steps per day, they didn’t uncover a threshold beyond which more exercise ceased to be advantageous. But in line with earlier studies, they also came to the conclusion that enhancing health doesn’t necessitate doing a lot of daily steps. Once trial participants reached a threshold of around 4,000 steps per day (about two miles), the chance of dying from any cause started to dramatically fall. When examining the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease specifically, the threshold was much lower—around 2,500 steps per day.
The researchers discovered that these characteristics remained mostly constant when comparing men and women as well as across various geographical areas. However, there were minor distinctions between individuals of various ages. Walking between 6,000 and 10,000 steps per day reduced death risk for adults over 60 by about 42%, whereas walking between 7,000 and 13,000 steps per day reduced mortality risk for those under 60 by around 49%.
The results come with some warnings. One reason is that while this kind of observational study might reveal trends, it cannot unambiguously establish cause and effect. Daily steps were only one component of the bigger picture because the researchers were unable to properly account for the socioeconomic situations or general lifestyles of the subjects. For instance, it’s probable that those who were most active also exhibited a variety of other beneficial behaviours that may have contributed to their longer lifetime.
However, the current study comes to the same conclusion as many previous studies—and the U.S. government physical activity guidelines—that more movement is nearly always better, but even a little is better than nothing.
Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com