Daily walks are known to boost health and reduce health risks. With wearable devices that come with step counters becoming popular, it’s become a trend to count the number of steps one takes every day. However, there is still a lack of clarity about the recommended number of steps. Some say a daunting number: 10,000 steps. However, a new study has found that 2,500 to about 4,000 steps is enough.
The study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, has found that walking 3,967 steps every day, about two miles, can reduce the risk of dying from any cause, according to Healthline. Also, walking 2,337 steps a day can lower your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
This number is significantly lesser than the one suggested by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recommends 10,000 steps a day. For many, 10,000 steps may not be a realistic goal and can often become the reason for not walking at all. The new study comes as a relief as it shows walking fewer steps can keep heart disease and early mortality at bay.
The study used health data from 226,889 people collected from 17 different studies. The findings are important as they can motivate people to start exercising. Currently, 81% of adolescents worldwide undertake insufficient physical activity, according to the research paper. The results emphasise that walking for short periods is significantly better for health compared to a sedentary lifestyle, which was previously defined as less than 5,000 steps, according to the paper. Previous research has shown that a sedentary life may significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and reduce lifespan.
The results could help redefine the definition of activity levels, especially sedentary and the required number of steps to achieve significant health benefits, according to the paper.
Previous studies have also indicated that walking can have a myriad of health benefits. In March, a study, published in JAMA Open Network, had showed that people who walked 8,000 steps or more three to seven days a week had a lower mortality risk of about 16.5% and the health benefits for people aged 65 years or above also appeared higher. In February, another study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that an 11-minute brisk walk could lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and several cancers.