Ten thousand steps a day is not the magic number for good health. What?!
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
For decades, we have heard 10,000 steps a day is the key to good health. Well, it turns out this is false. In fact, you can reap nearly the same health benefits with fewer steps. Before you discredit this article and walk out, give us a minute to step you through everything. You might be surprised and even pleased by what you learn.
According to a study based on a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey published in JAMA in 2020, people age 40 and older who took 8,000 steps a day during the survey had a 50% higher chance of surviving than people who took 4,000 steps or less a day for ten years after the survey. People who took 12,000 steps a day had a 65% higher chance of surviving than the 4,000 step group.
Higher step counts appeared to have the largest impact in enabling participants to prevent and survive heart disease and cancer. Participants from a variety of ages, gender and ethnic backgrounds enjoyed these benefits.
For everyone who doesn’t like to sweat, the study also reported intensity didn’t matter. Carrying groceries in from the car can benefit you as much as running.
“Walking is a great, low-impact exercise. It works several muscles, can increase your heart rate and often improves your mental well-being too. It’s also easy to do with a friend or loved one, enabling you to share time together and give you someone to encourage you to keep moving on the days you don’t feel like it,” said Stephen Knox, M.D. board-certified family medicine, Genesis Primary Care. “However, as with any other fitness program, you should always talk to your doctor first. Your doctor can examine you for unknown health conditions and recommend the safest way to get started.”