Do You Really Need 10,000 Steps a Day?

Henrietta Strickland
May 30, 2019

Hitting 10,000 steps a day is a common target for those wanting to stay fit and active. But does it really take almost five miles (nearly 8km) daily to make a difference in longevity?

The study looked only at women and primarily at older women.

In fact, women who took 4,400 steps per day, on average, were 40 percent less likely to die during the follow-upperiod of about four yearscompared to women who took 2,700 steps.

Women who walked around 4,000 steps per day, far less than the 10,000 goal, increased their lifespan compared to women who took fewer steps.

The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines promote activity of any intensity to get people at all degrees of fitness and ages moving.

Taking more steps throughout the day was generally associated with decreased mortality rates among older women, a prospective cohort study found. She's a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a professor of epidemiology at Harvard's School of Public Health.

"To me, this study suggests there's more benefit to light activity than we were previously thinking there might be", she says.

The average number of steps taken by American adults is between 4,000 and 5,000 per day, previous research shows.

This data "may serve as encouragement to the many sedentary individuals for whom 10,000 steps [per day] pose an unattainable goal", the researchers wrote. The name of the device was Manpo-kei.

Steven Blair, a professor emeritus at the University of sc, told CNN in an email that major strengths of the new study include "objectively measured physical activity" and a conclusion that specified an exact number of steps per day.

Rzvi also stressed that it's important that some of your steps, no matter what your daily total is, include a faster pace.

Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta, a practicing physician and professor of medicine at McGill University, told CNN in an email that the new study was "well-done" and the average period of follow-up, four years, "was reasonable".

The most active group (8 500 steps daily) had a 58% lower risk of dying during follow-up.

Another surprise: The benefits of walking maxed out at about 7,500 steps.

The researchers also found that the intensity of activity didn't make a statistically significant difference. Turns out "it didn't matter whether you were stepping faster or slower, it was the number of steps that actually counted", she explained. "It was sort of surprising", Lee says. This low activity group proved to be at the highest risk of death, the study showed.

Women were excluded if they had BMIs under 18.5 kg/m, prevalent diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer, or self-reported health status less than "good".

"They didn't need to go the gym or invest in a personal trainer or exercise equipment", she says. She suggested parking your vehicle farther away, taking stairs, getting up and moving during commercial breaks on TV, playing with your grandkids or walking a pet. She was not involved in this study.

"At least in this subset of the population, you don't have to shoot for this number that feels overwhelming". Though technology encourages us to sit, it can also be used to help us to walk, she added. She added it would be helpful to see this research in different age groups and in men, too. "For a younger age group, it might take more steps", she said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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