An international study led by the University of Granada has identified for the first time the optimal number of steps at which most people obtain the greatest benefits, and also shows that the pace at which you walk provides additional benefits.
The idea that you should take 10,000 steps a day originated in Japan in the 1960s, but had no scientific basis. Researchers have now shown that, if we focus on the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, most of the benefits are seen at around 7,000 steps.
An international study led by the University of Granada (UGR) has provided the first scientific proof for how many steps you need to take per day to significantly reduce the risk of premature death: 8,000. Given the average length of a human stride (76 centimetres for men and 67 centimetres for women), taking 8,000 steps is equivalent to walking approximately 6.4 kilometres a day.
Researchers have also shown that the pace at which we walk has additional benefits, and that it is better to walk fast than slow. With regard to the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, most of the benefits are seen at around 7,000 steps.
The researchers conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of data from twelve international studies involving more than 110,000 participants.
“In this study, we show that measurable benefits can be obtained with small increases in the number of steps per day, and that for people with low levels of physical activity, every additional 500 steps improves their health. This is good news because not everyone can walk almost 9,000 steps a day, at least not at first, so you can set small, reachable goals and gradually make progress and increase the number of steps per day,” the researchers note.
Niels A. Stens, Esmée A. Bakker, Asier Mañas, Laurien M. Buffart, Francisco B. Ortega, Duck-chul Lee, Paul D. Thompson, Dick H.J. Thijssen, Thijs M.H. Eijsvogels. Relationship of Daily Step Counts to All-Cause Mortality and Cardiovascular Events. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2023; 82 (15): 1483 DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2023.07.029
University of Granada. (2023, October 26). 8,000 steps a day to reduce the risk of premature death. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2023 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/10/231026131551.htm