Taking 8,000 plus steps, the equivalent of walking approximately 6.4 km a day, can help reduce the risk of dying early, according to the study that provides the first scientific proof for an optimal number of steps to be taken daily. The new study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, identifies 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 study also finds that faster walking is associated with a reduced risk of mortality, regardless of the total number of steps per day.
The number of daily steps covered in walking matters, but so does your pace, the study reveals that walking faster significantly impacts the benefits associated with it, regardless of how many steps you take every day.
In the new international study, researchers from the Netherlands, Spain, and the U.S. examined data from 12 studies involving a total of more than 111,000 participants. Among their findings:
1. 2,500 daily steps is about the point at which the risk of death was significantly reduced (by 8%) when compared to 2,000 daily steps.
2. 2,700 daily steps is about the point at which the risk of both fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular disease events like heart attack and stroke was significantly reduced (by 11%) when compared to 2,000 daily steps.
3. 7,000 daily steps, roughly, is the optimal number for those looking to reduce their risk of both fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular disease events (51% reduction).
4. 9,000 daily steps, roughly, is the optimal number for those looking to reduce their risk of death from any cause (60% reduction).
5. Each 1,000 additional daily steps, or about 10 minutes of walking, will reduce your risk of death to some extent, though not in predictable intervals.
6. Each additional 500 daily steps, or about five minutes of walking, will improve the health of those with low levels of physical activity.
The research also highlights the benefits of gradual increases in daily step counts. Each 1,000 additional daily steps, equivalent to approximately 10 minutes of walking, offers a further reduction in the risk of death, although not in predictable intervals.
Additionally, an extra 500 daily steps, or about five minutes of walking, can substantially improve the health of individuals with low levels of physical activity.