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August 11, 2023

How Many Daily Steps Needed to Improve Health?

daily steps
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

How Many Daily Steps Needed to Improve Health?

Most of us have heard that you need to take 10,000 daily steps a day to improve health. Actually, a new study shows that you can still improve health with as few as 4,000 daily steps 93,867 steps to be precise), but 10,000 daily steps gives you a better reduction in death.

A recent study published in the European Journal of Cardiology analyzed 17 prior studies involving 226,889 individuals whose walking habits were followed on average for about seven years.

Here’s what that meta-analysis found:

  • Heart health begins to improve with as little as 2,337 steps a day.
  • The risk of dying from any diseaseĀ decreases with about 4,000 daily steps..
  • Adults over 60 saw a 42% risk reduction in death if they walked 6,000 to 10,000 steps a day.
  • Younger adults saw a 49% risk reduction if they walked between 7,000 and 13,000 steps a day.
  • Every increase of steps by 1,000 steps a day reduces risk of dying from any cause by 15%.
  • Every increase of steps by 500 steps a day is associated with a 7% reduction in dying from cardiovascular disease.

According to the World Health Organization’s data, 3.2 million deaths a year are related to physical inactivity. According to the CDC, 4 in 5 of the most costly chronic conditions among adults 50 years or older can be prevented or managed with physical activity.

Importance of Physical Activity

It’s been long known the physical activity plays a key role in avoiding disease and improving quality of life. When it comes to disease prevention – walking – yes just simple walking can go a long way in reducing risk of chronic disease.

Don’t sit yourself to death. We have discussed the hazards of sitting. Move around as much as you can if your job is sedentary. The study above shows that any incremental improvement in daily steps can ward off disease.

So walking can go a long way in improving health, but if you really want to improve your quality of life we strongly encourage doing more than just walking. Walking is the bare minimum you need to do activity wise to carry out many your activities of daily living.

We encourage patients to make note or a list of the activities they want to do be able to when they are 60 years-old, 70 years-old, 80 years-old, and so on. If something on that list is more than you are already doing, then what are the chances of you doing that activity later in life?

If you want to be active in your later years, you need to start training for those later year activities today. This likely will involve doing some strength or resistance training, improving flexibility and balance, and both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism.

Start with increasing your daily steps if you are currently sedentary. Then with time add strength and flexibility training. Loss of balance is a huge problem as we age so start working on that as well.

But, everything starts with taking those first steps – those first daily steps.

 

 

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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