Now, for the first time, it has been scientifically proven how many steps need to be taken per day in order to significantly reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and general premature death. It was also found that the pace of walking also has an effect that should not be underestimated.
A recent meta-analysis involving experts from Iowa State University analyzed how daily steps taken are associated with all-cause mortality and the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. The results were published in the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology”.
Recommendations so far have no scientific basis
It is often said that to improve your health you should take 10,000 steps a day. However, according to study author Professor Francisco B. Ortega, this recommendation of the daily number of steps is not based on any scientific basis. Significantly fewer steps could be enough to have a positive impact.
The researchers therefore carried out a systematic literature search and meta-analysis of data from twelve different international studies with a total of more than 110,000 participants. In fact, it has been shown that health benefits occur with fewer than 10,000 steps taken per day.
8,000 steps protect against premature death
8,000 steps a day seem to be enough to significantly reduce the risk of premature death. Given the average human stride length (76 centimeters for men and 67 centimeters for women), this number of steps corresponds to a distance of approximately 6.4 kilometers, the researchers explain.
To reduce the risk of premature death due to cardiovascular diseases, around 7,000 steps a day are sufficient. According to Professor Ortega, taking 7,000 to 9,000 steps per day is a reasonable health goal for most people.
Faster walking pace brings additional benefits
However, it is not just the length of the path that plays an important role in the steps taken. The speed at which you move also has an influence on reducing mortality. Walking faster is generally associated with a lower risk of death, regardless of the total number of steps per day, the team reports.
According to the researchers, it has also been proven that even small increases in the number of daily steps bring measurable health benefits. For people who normally have little physical activity, every additional 500 steps taken is associated with health benefits.
This is very important because not all people are able to take almost 9,000 steps a day, at least not at the beginning, the researchers explain.
Slowly increase the steps taken
Since every step taken a day is beneficial for your health, you can start by setting achievable goals. As progress occurs over time, you can start increasing the number of steps per day, the team reports.
The more steps, the better
The study also showed that the more steps you take, the better for your health. There is no such thing as an excessive number of steps that could be proven to be harmful to health, explains Professor Ortega.
“More steps is never a bad thing. Our study showed that even 16,000 steps per day poses no risk; On the contrary, there are additional benefits compared to walking 7,000-9,000 steps per day, but the differences in risk reduction are small,” explains the doctor in a press release.
Adjust step number according to age
When it comes to the steps taken, it is important to ensure that the targeted goal of the steps is chosen in an age-appropriate manner. According to the experts, younger people can set higher goals than older people.
Finally, the team emphasizes that the study they conducted only examined the effects of daily steps taken on the risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease. (as)