About 4,000 steps a day are enough to improve health

The number of steps you have to take each day to see health benefits is lower than previously assumed, according to an evaluating study the result of 17 different analyzes from all over the world done until now.

Among the conclusions of the article published today in the journal is European Journal of Preventive Cardiologyit will be highlighted Walk at least 3,967 steps 2,337 steps a day reduces the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

The researchers, led by a cardiologist from the University of Lodz (Poland) Maciej Banachexamined the physical activity of 226,889 people to confirm this the more you walkthey are bigger health benefits.

Thus, the risk of dying from any cause or from cardiovascular disease decreases significantly with every additional 500 to 1,000 steps taken. An increase of 1,000 steps per day was associated with a 15 percent reduction in the risk of dying from any cause and was related to heart and blood circulation.

Banach — also a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine — says his study finds these health improvements apply “to both men and women, regardless of age and regardless of whether you live in a temperate, subtropical climate.” or sub-polar region.” in the world or in a region with different climates.

Until now, it has not been clear what the optimal step count is, both in terms of the thresholds at which we can begin to see health benefits and the upper limit, if any.

Ibadete Bytyçi, lead author

The scientists further calculated that this was also the case when people walked up to 20,000 steps As the day wore on, the health benefits increased.

In that sense, the main author Ibadete Bytycifrom the Kosovo University Clinical Center in Pristina (Kosovo), claims that “until now it has not been clear how many steps are optimal, both in terms of the thresholds from which we can start looking at health benefits , such as the upper limit, if any, and the role that this plays in people’s health.

In his opinion, the available data on step counts up to 20,000 per day is limited, so “these results need to be confirmed in larger groups of people”.

End the sedentary lifestyle

There is convincing evidence that a sedentary lifestyle it can contribute to an increase in cardiovascular disease and a shortening of life. Studies have shown that insufficient physical activity affects more than a quarter of the world’s population.

Lack of physical activity is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide

There are more women than men (32% vs. 23%) and people in higher-income countries are less mobile compared to low-income countries (37% vs. 16%).

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), lack of physical activity is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, with 3.2 million deaths per year related to a sedentary lifestyle. The Pandemic of COVID-19 also caused a reduction in physical activity and The activity level has not recoveredtwo years later.

Adjust lifestyle changes

This meta-analysis has also managed to analyze whether there are differences based on age, gender or the part of the world in which one lives, based on an observation of the participants over an average period of seven years. It should be noted that the mean age was 64 years and 49% of the participants were women.

For people aged 60 and over, the magnitude of the reduction in risk of death was less than for people under 60 years of age.

In the older adultsA 42% risk reduction in which they intervened 6,000 and 10,000 steps per daywhile younger adults who walked between 7,000 and 13,000 steps per day had a 49% lower risk.

We still need good studies to examine whether these benefits exist in high-intensity exercise types such as marathon running and in different population groups of different ages and with different associated health problems.

Maciej Banach, Principal Investigator

Banach emphasizes the fact that in a world where more and more advanced medicines are available to treat specific conditions such as cardiovascular disease, one also “needs to emphasize that lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, are at least as effective or even more effective could be.” Reducing cardiovascular risk and prolong life“.

According to the cardiology professor, “we still need good studies to investigate whether these benefits can exist.” intense types of exertionlike running marathons and the challenges The man from Hierroand in different population groups of different ages and with different associated health problems”. However, he concedes, “As with pharmacological treatments, it seems we always need to think about personalizing lifestyle changes.”

Among the limitations of the research, the authors recall that this is an observational study and therefore cannot be proven to increase the number of steps cause reduction of risk of death, but only that this activity “associate” to this decline.

Finally, the influence of step count in people with different diseases has not been checked, since in general all Participant was healthy as they entered the studios. Differences in race and socioeconomic status were also not taken into account, nor were step-counting methods, which may not have been the same in all studies included in this meta-analysis.

Banach, M. et al. “The association between daily step count and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality: a meta-analysis”. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology (2023)

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