(ORDO NEWS) — Walking has long been considered a simple and effective way to improve overall health and reduce the risk of developing various diseases. However, the exact number of steps required to achieve optimal effect is still a matter of debate. A recent study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology has shed new light on this issue, suggesting that the daily number of steps needed to stay healthy may be lower than previously thought.
The study, which analyzed data from 17 different studies involving a total of 226,889 participants worldwide, found that walking at least 3,967 steps a day can reduce the risk of all-cause mortality. In addition, walking at least 2,337 steps per day reduces the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
These results are encouraging for those who find it difficult to reach the generally accepted goal of 10,000 steps a day, but the study also found that the more you walk, the greater the health benefits. The risk of death from any cause or from cardiovascular disease decreases significantly with each additional step of 500 to 1,000 steps per day. An increase of 1,000 steps per day is associated with a 15% reduction in the risk of death from any cause, and an increase of 500 steps per day is associated with a 7% reduction in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
What’s more, the researchers found that even walking up to 20,000 steps a day continued to provide health benefits, suggesting there may be no upper limit to the benefits of walking. This finding is especially important because it challenges the idea that there is a maximum threshold beyond which taking additional steps does not provide any health benefits.
Lead researcher Professor Maciej Banach highlights the importance of walking for overall health: “Our study confirms that the more you walk, the better… In addition, our analysis shows that it only takes 4,000 steps a day to significantly reduce mortality from all causes , and to reduce mortality from cardiovascular diseases – even less.”
The study also highlights the detrimental effects of a sedentary lifestyle, which is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. More than a quarter of the world’s population suffers from insufficient physical activity, with women and residents of high-income countries disproportionately affected.
According to the World Health Organization, insufficient physical activity is the fourth leading cause of death in the world, leading to 3.2 million deaths annually.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made this problem even worse, with declines in physical activity levels persisting even two years after it began. This makes the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle even more important.
Dr. Ibadete Bytychi, senior author of the study, acknowledges the need for further research to confirm the findings and examine the optimal number of steps for different populations. “These results need to be confirmed in larger groups of people,” she says.
As we strive to prioritize our health and well-being, incorporating regular walking into our daily routine can be a simple but effective step towards a healthier future.
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