'You Don't Need to Hit 10,000 Steps Daily to Stay Healthy': What's the Number?

Only 2,337 steps a day are enough to reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality. But what's the ideal number?

2 min read

10,000 steps a day may not be the goal number you need to set to stay healthy after all! 

The big point: While there is evidence showing that inactivity or minimal activity can increase the risk of ill health, it might not take as much effort as we think to maintain good health.

We might even need less than 5,000 steps in a day to remain healthy, and even reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and premature mortality - that is to do with the health of the heart and blood vessels, a study conducted by the Medical University of Lodz in Poland and John Hopkins University School of Medicine shows.

What was done? The research is focused on daily step count and the relationship between all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular mortality by the analysis of 226,889 participants across 17 cohorts.

It demonstrated that any kind of increase in activity is likely to increase health and reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular mortality.

Key findings from the study:

  • There is an inverse relationship between daily step count and all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality. Walking more reduces the risk of premature mortality. 

  • An average of 4,000 steps are sufficient to reduce the risk of mortality. 

  • Every 1,000 steps over the average steps further reduces the risk of all-cause mortality by 15 percent. 

  • Only 2,337 steps a day are enough to reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality.

The team of researchers emphasized that the results of the study were applicable to all genders and age; whichever geographical location they may be coming from.

The larger context: We have been long informed of the drawbacks of a sedentary lifestyle.

One of the principal researchers, Professor Maciej Banach, from the Lodz university encourages everyone to continue to make lifestyle and dietary changes.

These include changes in our levels of activity, physically as well. This he has recommended in addition to advanced drugs for treatment which are coming forth. 

"I believe we should always emphasize that lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, which was a main hero of our analysis, might be at least as, or even more, effective in reducing cardiovascular risk and prolonging lives."
Professor Maciej Banach, as quoted by BBC

There are many ways in which you can increase your daily activity, now walking only an average of 4,000 steps is one of them!

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