October 01, 2022

Daily Steps for Long-Term Health

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Fitness trackers that keep track of how many steps we take in a day have become all the rage, but not all steps are equal, and how many steps really makes a difference, anyway?

These are the questions that researchers set out to answer in a study by JAMA Internal Medicine.

CHC has a look at the key findings of the study and what it means for your routine.

Aim for Around 10,000 Steps Per Day

The study looked at seven days’ worth of fitness tracker data or people with an average age of 61. Researchers then followed this group over the course of six to eight years to see whether they developed heart disease, cancer, dementia, or died in that span.

The results shows that for every 2,000 steps, the risk of premature death, heart disease, and cancer dropped by around 10%. For dementia comparisons, logging around 10,000 steps per day showed to reduce the risk in half, while logging around 4,000 steps per day meant a 25% reduction in risk.

In both cases, most of the data peaked at 10,000 steps, so researchers are unclear if going past that number means the benefits would continue.

So, while 10,000 steps is a great benchmark, this study showed that you can benefit by even doing half that number per day.

Brisk Walking Makes a Difference Too

Not only the quantity of your steps matter, but the quality does as well. Step rate was also looked at, and researchers found that those who participated in a brisk walk for 30 minutes per day had between a 25% and 35% additional reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia, or premature death.

Researchers say that it doesn’t have to be 30 consecutive minutes either; just spacing it out throughout the day so it adds to around 2,400 to 3,000 steps of brisk walking is enough to see the additional benefits.

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