Posted on Sep 10, 2021, 6 p.m.
A recent study published in the journal JAMA Network suggests that 7,000 steps+ a day may lower the risk of mortality in middle ages adults; the findings use daily step count analysis to show that regular physical activity in middle-aged adults can help to reduce the chances of mortality associated with cardiovascular disease by up to 70%.
This work examined 2,110 adults, who were part of the CARDIA study, between the ages of 38-50 for an average of close to 11 years, taking a minimum of seven thousand steps per day, who wore accelerometers to provide information on daily step volume, intensity and time spent being active. The researchers found that the participants were less likely to die over the next decade with the mortality rate decreasing for black participants by 70% and white participants by 63% compared to their sedentary counterparts. However, the authors noted a difference between men and women with increased steps finding that deaths among men fell by 58% but the rate increased among women to 72%.
A range of covariates were included to avoid the interference of confounding factors including age, race, education, smoking history, and alcohol consumption, BMI, and dietary habits. This information was self-declared by participants, who also declared their health status as either poor, fair, good, very good, or excellent.
“This cohort study found that higher daily step volume was associated with a lower risk of premature all-cause mortality among Black and White middle-aged women and men,” study lead author Dr. Amanda Paluch of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and her team concluded.
The average person will take around 70 minutes to complete 7,000 steps at a brisk pace, and around two hours for 10,000 steps. The number of steps taken daily is a metric for quantifying daily activity. Modern wearables and health gadgets can help to estimate how active a person is being by tracking the number of steps they are taking.
“Participants taking at least 7,000 steps per day, compared with those taking fewer steps, had a 50% to 70% lower risk of mortality,” the researchers write.“Taking more than 10,000 steps per day was not associated with further reduction in mortality risk,” the team reports.
It is recommended that the average adult try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or around 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity every week to improve and/or maintain good health. Physical activity is the cheapest and easiest way to provide health benefits for many conditions including but not limited to cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, several cancers, and it can also help to improve quality of life.
“National guidelines for physical activity do not include step counts as a public health target owing to the limited number of studies demonstrating the prospective associations of step volume and intensity with clinical outcomes, including mortality. Most prospective studies on steps and health include samples of older adults, whereas few studies include adults earlier in their life course or racially diverse populations,” the researchers noted.
An analysis conducted in Norway suggests that increasing step count may reduce death rates among unfit people by up to 57%. Previous studies conducted in America have found that taking 4,000 steps daily can help to reduce mortality by around 30%, findings from this study reinforce those findings suggesting that increasing daily steps among the sedentary and least active may help to add years to their lives. The researchers think that this study may have important clinical implications and that wearable monitoring systems may become a tool in the prevention and management of chronic health conditions.
“Steps estimated from these devices could be a simple metric to track and promote physical activity. Encouraging walking to achieve step goals is a well-tolerated form of activity for most people,” the team concludes.
Wearables, such as accelerometers, have exploded in popularity over the last decade, going from an estimated half-million users in 2012 to roughly 29.5 million users in 2019.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.
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