Falling Short of 10K Steps a Day? Try 2.2K

One's risk of early death, heart disease begins to drop at that level, study finds
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2024 9:56 AM CST
Can't Get in 10K Steps a Day? Get to 2.2K
Walking between 2,200 and 10,000 steps a day can lower your risk of early death and heart disease, research suggests.   (Getty Images/lzf)

If you can't get in 10,000 steps per day, even making an effort toward that goal is likely to be beneficial. New research shows every step above 2,200 per day, up to roughly 10,000, reduces one's risk of heart disease and early death, even if you spend 20 minutes walking and the rest of the day sitting, per the Guardian. Researchers at the University of Sydney analyzed data from 72,174 individuals from the UK Biobank, who wore an accelerometer for a week to monitor exercise levels. In following up with the group after seven years, at which point participants had experienced 1,633 deaths and 6,190 cardiovascular events, researchers found a person's risk of death and heart disease dropped as they exceeded 2,200 steps per day. As lead study author Dr. Matthew Ahmadi puts it, "All movement matters."

Many more steps was optimal. Those who logged between 9,000 and 10,000 steps saw a 39% lower risk of early death and a 21% lower risk of heart disease. But "half of that benefit was achieved with half the effort, at around 4,000 to 4,500 steps a day," per HealthDay. And logging more than 2,200 steps also came with reduced risk. This suggests "the amount of physical activity needed to lower the risk of mortality and incident may be lower than previously suggested," per a release. The researchers, whose work appears in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, note "sedentary time did not significantly modify the dose-response association of daily steps." In other words, "the more steps a person can fit into their day, the lower their risk of early death and heart disease, regardless of how much a couch potato they are otherwise," per HealthDay. (More exercise stories.)

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