Do Steps Per Day Really Matter?
While vigorous exercise is not recommended during a very low-calorie diet, we do highly recommend daily walking to all of our patients who are able to do so. One might ask, so how many steps per day do you actually have to take to make a long-term impact on your health? A recent paper in The Journal for American Medicine Association (JAMA) aimed to investigate this question.
In the study, they analyzed daily step count data for about 2,100 middle-aged black and white women and men. They then followed up with them for 10 years, looking at mortality. Researchers found that those participants taking at least 7,000 steps/day, compared with those taking fewer than 7,000 steps/day, had a 50% to 70% lower risk of mortality.
Taking more than 10,000 steps/day was not associated with further reduction in mortality risk. There was no association of step intensity with mortality. This work extends previous research on the association between steps and mortality in a prospective study of middle-aged black and white adults.
While starting a walking regimen may seem like a daunting task, this study should bring you encouragement. One does not have to do a high-intensity 10,000+ steps a day in order to achieve long-term health benefits. 7,000 steps equals about 3.1 miles, which can easily be achieved during the day with activities such as housework, a walk around the neighborhood, or a Costco trip. So start walking!
Paluch AE, Gabriel KP, Fulton JE, Lewis CE, Schreiner PJ, Sternfeld B, Sidney S, Siddique J, Whitaker KM, Carnethon MR. Steps per Day and All-Cause Mortality in Middle-aged Adults in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Sep 1;4(9):e2124516. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.24516. PMID: 34477847; PMCID: PMC8417757.