FITNESS, HEALTH

How many steps do you need to walk every day to reduce the risk of premature death?

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Researchers claim to have provided the first scientific proof of how many steps a person should take each day to significantly reduce the risk of premature death.

A team, led by the University of Granada (UGR) in Spain, conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of data from twelve international studies with more than 110,000 participants.

It identifies, for the first time, that 8,000 is the optimal number of steps where most people derive the greatest benefits.

The study also found that faster walking is associated with a reduced risk of mortality, regardless of the total number of steps per day. Interestingly, the study revealed no differences between men and women in terms of the optimal number of steps.

The research was carried out in collaboration between researchers from the Netherlands (Radboud University Medical Center), Spain (Universities of Granada and Castilla-La Mancha) and the United States (Iowa State University) and was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"Traditionally, many people thought that you had to take about 10,000 steps a day to get health benefits, an idea that emerged in Japan in the 1960s but had no scientific basis," said the study's lead author, Francisco B. Ortega. Ortega, a lecturer in the Department of Physical Education and Sport at the UGR.

"We have demonstrated for the first time that the more steps, the betterand that no excessive number of steps has been shown to be detrimental to health.

"Measurable benefits can be obtained with small increases in the number of steps per day, and for people with low levels of physical activity, every additional 500 steps improves your 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, achievable goals and gradually progress and increase the number of steps per day".

Esmée Bakkerof the University of Granada and one of the lead authors of the study, added: "What makes our study different is that, for the first time, we set clear objectives. International physical activity recommendations advise adults to get 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. But most people do not know what exercise is considered moderate-intensity, making it difficult to check their compliance with this exercise standard. Counting steps is much easier, especially since most people today have a smartphone or smartwatch.

Herein lies the importance of our study: provide simple and concrete objectives for the number of daily steps that people can easily measure with their phones and smartwatches or wristbands, and thus contribute to people's health". Click here to read the full study.

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