Science reveals how many steps to walk to reduce the risk of dying

If you have a smartwatch on your wrist or have had to configure it for your parents after Christmas to establish the goal of daily steps to take, surely in most cases you have set that figure at 10,000 steps. A fact that we all associate with a healthy goal. Well, an international study led by scientists from the University of Granada has scientifically shown that this number of steps is overestimated and that in fact a few fewer could achieve sufficient benefits to reduce the risk of premature death.

These experts have coded in 8,000 steps a day the amount estimated to significantly reduce the risk of suffering an early death. If we take the average length of human steps as a reference (which is 76 centimeters for men and 67 centimeters for women), 8,000 steps are approximately 6.4 kilometers walked per day.Provided, of course, that you don’t save yourself that last walk around the block to sit on the sofa, turn on the TV remote and stuff yourself with sweets.

And it is that, the popular myth that you have to take 10,000 steps a day, originated in Japan back in 1960, it really did not have a scientific basis to support it. This new research reveals that, if we focus on the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, most of the benefits are seen reaching around 7,000 steps. For them, the scientists analyzed data from twelve international studies involving more than 110,000 participants. The results indicate that the risk of death does not decrease beyond 8,800 steps a day. For cardiovascular disease, no additional risk reduction is seen beyond 7,100 steps.

Francisco B. Ortegaa professor at the Department of Physical Education and Sports at the UGR points out that “We have shown for the first time that the more steps, the better, and that there is no excessive number of steps that has been shown to be harmful to health”, which he also remarked that reaching 7,000 to 9,000 steps a day is a good health goal for most individuals.

The results of this study are in line with other recent works, which show that the health benefits stabilize in less than ten thousand steps. “What sets our study apart is that for the first time we provided clear step targets,” explains one of the authors, Niels Stens. “We show that you can get measurable health benefits by walking about 2,500 steps a day. And that every additional 500 steps improves your health even more. That’s good news because not everyone can walk almost 9,000 steps a day, at least not from the beginning, so you can set small, achievable goals and work your way up and gradually increase the number of steps per day.”

The research has been carried out in collaboration between researchers from the Radboud University Medical Center (Holland), the Universities of Granada and Castilla la Mancha and Iowa State University (USA), and its results have been published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The pace at which you walk also matters

The researchers also stress that not only the number of steps matters, but also the pace at which the strides are taken and that walking at a higher speed can provide extra benefits.

The study reveals no differences between men and women. However, walking faster is better, regardless of the total number of steps taken per day. It also doesn’t matter how you count your steps. Whether you wear a smartwatch, an activity tracker on your wrist, or a smartphone in your pocket: step goals are the same. Any of these options allows a very large group of people to accurately count their steps.

Measurable health benefits can be gained by walking about 2,500 steps a day. And every additional 500 steps can further improve your health.

Does this mean that when we reach 8,000 steps or a little more we should stop and go home? Thijs Eijsvogelsanother of the participants in the study clarifies that not at all: “More steps are not worse in any case. In addition, our study only investigated the influence on the risk of mortality from all causes and cardiovascular diseases. Walking, or exercising in In general, it brings many more benefits. Think, for example, of better sleep quality and mental health. And it’s fun too!”

The International Physical Activity Guidelines suggest that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, but most people are unaware of what exercises are considered moderately intense, making it difficult to live up to this positive health claim. . Walking at a good pace can, of course, be one of them.

Source: University of Granada


Leave a Reply