Recently, a few studies have found risk factors for early deaths such as reduced cardiorespiratory fitness, obesity, smoking, diabetes, heart disease, pulmonary disease, and more. Out of all of these causes, poor CRF appears to be the leading risk factor for early death. If this is so important, is walking able to help? If this is true, how many steps do we really need each day to live a longer life?
For many years, researchers have suggested walking around 10,000 steps per day to live a long life. We have been finding in recent years that there is not much research that supports this claim. A study done in 2019 looked at how many steps a group of 18,289 elderly females took over seven days. They then compared this data with their health outcomes for years later. The researchers found a reduced mortality risk with more steps taken per day, up until around 7500 steps per day. Compared with those taking 2700 steps per day, those averaging 8400 steps per day were 58% less likely to die during the study.
Another study was done which involved 4840 middle-aged adults. Researchers compared daily step count data during the time period from 2003 to 2006 with health outcomes a decade later. They identified a connection between steps taken per day and reduced risk for early death.
Neither study found evidence that fast or slow walking speed played a role in mortality risk. With that being said, a few studies have linked a foster walking speed with better cognitive health and a reduced risk for disability. A 13 year study was done which compared members of a running club with those who did not run. The researchers found that the individuals who regularly jogged were less likely to experience physical impairments or early death.
All of these studies suggest that moving your body and walking can improve your cardiorespiratory fitness and reduce the risk of early death. Staying active is also associated with a better quality of life. There are other ways to prolong life which include avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, building muscle mass, and eating a balanced diet.
At Back and Body Pain Relief, our emphasis is on helping patients back to active lifestyles, especially from injury or pain. If you are struggling with pain or an injury, come in and see us. We will help relieve your symptoms but also put you on a pathway to recovery.