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The more you walk, the lower your risk of dying from all causes and cancer. According to a new studyOnce you reach 10,000 steps per day, the benefits continue to increase. Apparently, this is the number of steps – or is it?

Studies comparing health outcomes with rank counts seem very plausible, because these days We all have step counters on hand or In our pockets. The step count number also seems very realistic and accurate: 10,000 Steps equal health and happiness, and it’s automatically measured for us. nice.

But first, I hope you have noticed some important caveats. Our bodies are messy meat machines, not step counters. If it’s exercise that’s important, the cyclist won’t have a lower step count than a runner, but will he be healthier? After all, can’t a walker and a runner have the same step count even though they perform different types of exercise that may have different effects on the body?

On the other hand, there are some good ways to track step counting, so I don’t want to dismiss the idea entirely. Although I am I wonder how sharp the picture will be. Step counts are higher for people who move a lot in daily life (“occasional” activity, as it’s sometimes called) even if they don’t do much structured exercise. The levels are also calculated automatically: YYou may not remember whether you’ve been doing yard work for 20 minutes or 45, but your tracker will have a good idea of ​​how many steps you took.

There is an additional set of caveats: These studies are usually observational. They tell us that people who take more steps a day tend to be healthier. But is it cause or effect? People in poor health may have energy to run to work and go for daily walks. And people who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids may not count steps, even when they do.

With that in mind, here are some step counts published in recent research, alongside some of their caveats.

For all-cause mortality and cancer mortality

This study He found that people who took 10,000 steps had a lower risk than those who took 8,000, who in turn had a lower risk than those who took 6,000, and so on. Levels above 10,000 seem to have the same risk as 10,000. In other words, increasing from 10,000 to 12,000 doesn’t change the risk of cancer or death if this represents a real, causal relationship, which we can’t be sure of.

The 78,500 people tracked were aged 40 to 79 from the UK and 97% were white.

For dementia

This study Similar to the study mentioned above, participants’ risk of dementia decreased as they took up to 9,800 steps per day. (Conducted by the same group and recruited from the same subjects) They also found that people who took 3,800 steps were less likely to be exposed than people who took 9,800, so maybe this lower number is a good target. If you are currently more sedentary. That said, this was also an observational study, and most of the participants were young enough to have dementia.

All-cause mortality in elderly women

This study Women who took 4,400 steps per day were less likely to die from any cause than those who took 2,700 steps per day. It was even better at about 7,500 steps, after which the risk of dying seemed to level off. Step count numbers come from quadruple: 25% of people with the lowest levels average about 2,700.

The participants were 16,741 women with an average age of 72. Women’s Health ResearchIt began in the 1990s with trials of aspirin and vitamins to prevent heart disease and cancer. The participants were 95% white and the majority were nurses.

Mortality for middle-aged people

This study Comparing steps per day with risk of death in middle age (41 to 65). People who took more than 7,000 steps a day had a 50% to 70% lower risk of death compared to people who took less than 7,000 steps a day. This number is chosen as the cutoff because it is a number American College of Sports Medicine estimates Like a 30-minute walk every day and a moderate amount of non-exercise.

The 2,110 participants were 57% female, 42% black, and were followed up for an average of 11 years after the study.

For blood vessel strength

Strengthening arteries are part of cardiovascular diseases. This systematic review Adding 2,000 steps a day appears to reduce arterial stiffness in a similar way to starting a structured exercise program. When compared in the analysis, the categories are those who took less than 5,000 steps and those who took more than 10,000. “In layman’s terms, these findings suggest that some exercise is better than none, but more is better,” the authors wrote.

The results are from 20 previous studies. Most were cross-sectional (comparing groups of people on how many measures they took), but a few were randomized controlled trials or prospective studies.

Risk for diabetes in Latinx adults

This study Every 1,000 additional steps taken per day is associated with a 2% reduction in diabetes risk. People who took 10,000 to 12,000 steps per day had an 18% lower risk of exposure than those who took less than 5,000 steps per day.

The study participants were 6,634 Hispanic and Latino adults, half of whom were women, with an average age of 39.

All-cause mortality, but at different ages

This study It is interesting because it breaks down the results by age group. Data from 15 studies suggest that mortality rates decline for people between the ages of 6,000 and 8,000, but that the parity among younger adults is between 8,000 and 10,000.

What are we to make of all this?

I think it would be a mistake to take these top-line results at face value. Can you reduce your risk of death by a certain percentage just by deliberately walking a few thousand extra steps a day? Almost all of these studies compared people. In advance They have traveled different amounts.

But the results suggest that healthy people tend to have step counts toward the higher end of the normal range. In all of these studies (and others in this area of ​​research), people who take 8,000 steps will be in the lower risk category than those who take 2,000. So if you’re currently pretty sedentary, tracking your step count might be worth a try, even if there’s no specific study that says you they have To fulfill such and such a number.

I think it’s interesting to see that there is none. Certain Although we would like to discuss these studies in detail, these studies identified the best number. It’s not like you have to get to 10,000 because if you get 9,500 something different happens.

The curves on the graphs in these papers tend to reach somewhere in the high four digits, but estimates are uncertain even there because there aren’t many people who get more steps than that. Someone who regularly gets 25,000 steps a day, for example, is off the charts. They may be very fit, or they may have an active job that takes more than they can easily recover from; These studies are not designed to tease out the difference.

The bottom line is what you probably guessed before you checked the numbers: If you sit a lot, moving a lot is good for you. And if you want a different guide, you can go with the good old one. More than 150 minutes of exercise per week Guide, or follow different Guidelines from government projects 8,500 steps per day recommended (US presidential race), 7,000 to 10,000 (UK National Obesity Forum) or 8,000 to 10,000 (Japan).

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