NEW research reveals optimal daily step count for wellbeing and longevity

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daily-step-count(NaturalHealth365)  According to the Mayo Clinic, the average American walks about 3-4,000 steps each day, roughly equivalent to 1.5 to 2 miles.  This number falls short of the 10,000 steps benchmark, so many experts associate with substantial health benefits.

A recent study challenges the validity of this step benchmark.  The study suggests that the widely-emphasized 10,000 steps, often seen as unattainable in our sedentary lifestyle, might not be necessary for reaping health advantages.

Comprehensive meta-analysis explores link between daily steps and mortality

The study referenced above consisted of a meta-analysis to determine the relationship between daily steps and cardiovascular mortality as well as all-cause mortality.  The academicians behind the study acknowledged there was solid evidence proving general inactivity and taking few steps per day heightens the risk of poor health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease.

The researchers searched through a litany of electronic databases to get a sense of a step count that leads to positive health outcomes.  All in all, the researchers studied 17 unique cohort studies encompassing nearly 230,000 participants.  The study participants were patients with cardiovascular risk or those in good health.  The median length of time for follow-up analysis was slightly more than seven years.

Here is how many steps you need each day to reduce your risk of death

The research team determined that 1,000-step increments were linked to a 15% reduction in all-cause mortality.  Moreover, 500-step increments were linked to a cardiovascular mortality rate decline of 7%.

The meta-analysis revealed that there is a meaningful inverse relationship between one’s aggregate number of steps in a day and cardiovascular mortality as well as all-cause mortality.  The increase in step count from slightly less than 4,000 steps per day to 5,537 decreased mortality.  Those who took 7,000+ steps per day also enjoyed a decline in mortality rates.  The mortality rate continued to decline with additional steps, falling to the lowest levels in individuals who took more than 11,000 steps per day.

The meta-analysis reveals it merely takes 4,000 steps per day to drastically reduce the potential for death from all causes.  Moreover, the researchers noted even fewer daily steps are necessary to decrease the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

The key takeaway from the study is that living a sedentary life hikes the risk for cardiovascular disease as well as a shorter life.  However, the researchers behind the study did not go as far as setting an upper limit for the optimal number of daily steps, as the impact of more than 11,000 daily steps on human health is not clear.

Moreover, the researchers noted that the data for individuals with step counts in excess of 20,000 per day is limited, meaning additional studies will be necessary to gauge the impact of 12,000 – 20,000+ steps per day.

Tips to increase your daily step count

If you’re looking to increase your daily step count, here are some more ideas to help you get moving:

  1. Walk during phone calls:  Instead of sitting while talking on the phone, walk around your home or office.  This simple habit can add up to hundreds of steps throughout the day.
  2. Take walking breaks:  Set an alarm to remind yourself to take short walking breaks every hour.  Even a five-minute stroll can help increase your step count.
  3. Use a pedometer or fitness tracker:  Wear a pedometer or fitness tracker to keep track of your steps.  It can serve as a motivational tool and encourage you to reach your daily goal.
  4. Choose active leisure activities:  Opt for leisure activities that involve movement, such as hiking, biking, or playing a sport like pickleball.  These activities can be both enjoyable and beneficial for your health.
  5. Take the long way:  Whether you’re at the grocery store, office, or any other destination, choose the longer route to add extra steps to your journey.
  6. Join a walking group:  Enlist a friend or family member to join you for regular walks.  Having a walking buddy can make the activity more enjoyable and keep you motivated.
  7. Walk your pet:  If you have a furry friend, take them for longer walks.  Your pet will appreciate the exercise, and you’ll benefit from the increased step count.
  8. Set mini goals:  Break your step goal into smaller increments throughout the day.  For example, aim to take 1,000 steps during your lunch break or 2,000 steps before dinner.

Remember, every step you take contributes to your overall health and wellbeing.  By incorporating these simple strategies into your routine, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your daily step goal and enjoying the benefits of an active lifestyle.

Sources for this article include:

Academic.oup.com
Eurekalert.org
Studyfinds.org
Mayoclinic.org

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