Walking is the simplest physical activity that exists, capable of warding off diseases and extending life. But how many steps are recommended to actually get these benefits? Often there has been talk of more than 10,000 steps a day, in reality, even fewer steps are enough to feel good, 7,000. This is what emerges from a very recent scientific research published in the journal JAMA Open network by an American team from the University of Massachusetts (Paluch et al, JAMA Open network, 2021).
The importance of physical activity
Keeping active is one of the healthiest choices you can make. In fact, moderate physical activity keeps cardiovascular diseases away, reduces the risk of diabetes and cellular degeneration. Calculating the steps taken in a day is the simplest and most handy way to quantify daily physical activity. However, until now, confusion still exists as to how many steps are recommended to have health benefits. In fact, the advice to take more than 10,000 steps does not actually have a real scientific basis but emerged, as pointed out by the same researchers of the University of Massachusetts, from an advertisement of a pedometer. Therefore, the study we are talking about today arises from the need to fill this gap.
How many steps to take in a day, the experiment
The researchers drew on the data collected during a large study, CARDIA, which began in 1985 and is still ongoing. Since 2005, 2,100 volunteers between the ages of 38 and 50 had started wearing a pedometer that revealed the number of daily steps and their intensity. After 11 years of surveys, what emerged was that those who took at least 7,000 steps a day had a mortality risk of up to 70% lower than those who took less than 7,000 steps. But the researchers went even further, by noting that, contrary to what one might think, taking more than 10,000 steps a day did not lead to additional benefits. Physical activity is certainly healthy and the longer the time spent outdoors, perhaps in nature, the more benefits in terms of mood and body weight control can be obtained. But it is important to emphasize that 7,000 steps are enough to significantly reduce the risk of disease, which is good news for those with limited time during the week or for those who have a sedentary lifestyle. So, in these cases it is enough to increase the daily steps, without exaggeration, to have tangible results in terms of health. In addition, the researchers observed that the intensity of walking, understood as the speed of the steps, did not affect the risk of mortality.
To improve one's health, a few tricks or small actions are often enough, as in this case. Walking is a healthy activity and, as shown by this study, high performance is not required to obtain benefits. The Natural Remedies app also provides a pedometer that can help you measure how many steps you take per day!