We all know that physical activity is crucial to our well-being. And plenty of research has shown that people who are active not only have lower rates of heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes, but also live longer than people who have a sedentary lifestyle.
Here’s some great news for those of us who aren’t too keen on strenuous workouts. Exercise doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Something as simple as even walking, can help us live longer. Every extra step we take per day, counts!
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In a recent study published in JAMA network, Dr. Saint-Maurice and his colleagues set out to determine the relationship between step count and mortality.
The study was conducted on a large sample (close to 5000) of men and women aged at least 40 years. Here’s what it found:
- Greater the number of daily steps (beyond at least 4000 steps per day), lower was the risk of mortality.
- The intensity of steps taken, by itself, didn’t make any significant difference to mortality risk.
Here are some numbers at a glance. Compared with taking less than 4000 steps per day,
- taking 8000 steps per day cut the mortality risk by half, and
- taking 12000 steps per day cut the mortality risk by two-thirds
Makes one wonder as to why the mortality rate shows a significant reduction after a minimum of 4000 steps? Well, here’s why.
We do know that, on an average, we all take 3000 to 4000 steps on a regular day (which does not involve any kind of specific exercise). So, if you were to put two and two together, every step that you take beyond your routine daily step count is going to help you live longer.
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So, whether you do it on the sidewalk, while on a hike, walking your pet, or on the treadmill (considering the current climate), an hour’s daily walk or stroll is definitely a good way to add some more years to your life.
Saint-Maurice PF, Troiano RP, Bassett DR, et al. Association of Daily Step Count and Step Intensity With Mortality Among US Adults. JAMA. 2020;323(12):1151–1160. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.1382