On 17/Jun/2019 / In Articles
We have all heard that getting in 10,000 steps every day is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But a new study suggests you might be able to lower that daily benchmark and take half as many steps.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, United States (U.S.), found that older women who took just 4,400 steps a day slashed their risk of early death by more than 40 percent.
The mortality rate decreased with more steps taken, before leveling out at around 7,500 steps a day. The team says the findings can encourage people who want to be less sedentary – but find 10,000 steps to be a daunting number – to get some physical activity into their day.
For the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the team looked at more than 16,700 women between ages 62 and 101 for four years.
The participants’ number of steps were tracked each day with wearable devices. Researchers found that reaching below half of that ‘magical’ 10,000 number slashed the risk of early death in older women.
Women who reached about 4,400 steps per day were 41 percent less likely to die than women who walked roughly 2,700 steps a day. Mortality rates continued to decline with more steps before leveling off at around 7,500 steps.
“Taking 10,000 steps a day can sound daunting. But we find that even a modest increase in steps taken is tied to significantly lower mortality in older women,” said co-author, Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor in the department of epidemiology at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
Researchers believe the 10,000 steps a day guideline came from a Japanese company that made a pedometer called Manpo-kei, which translates to ‘10,000 steps meter’.
“Our study adds to a growing understanding of the importance of physical activity for health, clarifies the number of steps related to lower mortality and amplifies the message: Step more – even a little more is helpful.”
So where did this 10,000-step guideline come from? The authors are not sure, but believe it dates back to around 1965 as a marketing strategy in Japan.
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