Do the steps you take as you walk each day affect your lifespan? Why is it that many people having activity trackers always have a goal of covering 10,000 steps a day? These are among the many questions that most people ask without getting satisfactory answers. Nonetheless, what do the researchers have to say?
A study was conducted to at least get some answers to these burning questions. It involved about 17,000 women participants of an average age of 72.The study was to investigate the mortality rate of these women in relation to the number of steps they covered per day. The results revealed that the risk of dying for the women who covered 4,400 steps was reduced by 41% as compared to their counterparts who recorded 2,700 steps a day.
Dr.-I Min Lee, a professor of both medicine and epidemiology at Harvard, happened to be the lead author for the study. She states that in as much as physical activity is beneficial to all of its partakers, the extra effort executed is what brings about the difference as seen from the study.
The researchers found out that participants at a large study of older women wore a device which counted their steps in their walking hours during the approximate four years of the study. Based on their average number of steps per day, the women were divided into four major groups-8,500, 5,900, 4,400 and 2,700 with a total of 500 women dying. The study showed that women in the 5,900-step group had their risk of dying drop by 46% when compared to the 2,700-step group. The 8,500-step group on the other hand showed a 58% lower risk of dying in the follow-up. However, the researchers found the benefit to be optimal at around 7,500 steps.
Another discovery that the researchers made was that the intensity of the steps did not make any statistically significant difference. According to Lee, daily physical activity has the capability of improving both blood pressure and sugar processing and cholesterol levels. Furthermore, better thinking and memory skills are all associated to regular physical activity. She goes on to say that you can park your car at a distance further than the usual, play with your grandkids or even walk a pet. These activities will ensure you have moved around therefore improving your health.
Dr. Traci Marquis-Eydman reviewed the findings of the same study and was impressed with them. She is an associate professor of medical sciences at Quinnipac University’s school of medicine. She seconded the idea that the steps intensity did not matter for one to reduce the mortality risk as seen in the study. You only had to stay active. She also points out that the research would be killing two birds with one stone if it would be conducted in other different age groups whilst conducting it in the men too.
Marquis-Eydman goes on to say that physicians would do everyone the world of good by adding 1,000 steps a day on patient’s activity prescriptions.