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You don't have to walk 10,000 steps a day to see health benefits

A new study found that far fewer steps per day could be enough to prevent premature death, and mortality risk continues to decline with more steps.
You don't have to walk 10,000 steps a day to see health benefits
Posted at 11:45 AM, Aug 09, 2023

A new study found that just getting in a few thousand steps per day could be enough to prevent premature death. 

The analysis published Tuesday in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that with each 1,000-step increment, someone walks in a day, the risk of all-cause mortality declines 15%. 

The study also found that increasing steps by 500 per day reduces risk of cardiovascular mortality by 7%. 

What is heartening about the study is those with sedentary lifestyles could benefit from taking just 4,000 steps per day. 

The analysis studied those who took up to 20,000 steps per day. The researchers did not find an upper limit to the benefit of taking more steps. The researchers said it is unclear what the optimal number of steps a day a person should take. 

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When someone takes 5,537 steps a day, the risk of all-cause mortality declines 48%. That number increases to 55% when taking 7,370 steps a day and 67% when taking 11,529 daily steps.

The new analysis builds on past research. A study published in 2022 in Nature Medicine suggested that those who are mildly overweight and walk 6,000 steps a day can lower their risk of obesity by 64% by increasing their daily step count to 11,000.

The researchers noted, however, that the risk of hypertension was lowest among those who walk 8,000-9,000 steps a day. The study indicated that higher step counts did not tend to lower the risk of hypertension.

Researchers from Vanderbilt University said they tracked 6,000 adults using Fitbit devices from 2018 through 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that walking can be an excellent way to stay in shape.

“Walking is a great way to get the physical activity needed to obtain health benefits,” the CDC said. “Walking does not require any special skills. It also does not require a gym membership or expensive equipment. A single bout of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity can improve sleep, memory, and the ability to think and learn. It also reduces anxiety symptoms."


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