How many steps should you walk every day to keep yourself fit? This is what new study shows

By Livemint
The findings of the study were published in the journal 'JAMA Network Open'. (HT_PRINT)

Wondering how many steps you should walk  everyday to keep yourself fit? 10,000 steps? - think again.

According to a new study, the oft-advised 10,000 steps a day is not a scientifically established guideline but emerged as part of a decades-old marketing campaign for a Japanese pedometer.

The findings of the study were published in the journal 'JAMA Network Open'.

The study said, walking at least 7,000 steps a day reduced middle-aged people's risk of premature death from all causes by 50 per cent to 70 per cent, compared to that of other middle-aged people who took fewer daily steps. 

But walking more than 10,000 steps per day -- or walking faster -- did not further reduce the risk, noted lead author Amanda Paluch, a physical activity epidemiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Replying to the question - How many steps per day do we need for health benefits? - Paluch said, That would be great to know for a public health message or for clinician-patient communication.

Paluch and other researchers mined data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, which began in 1985 and is still ongoing.

For the research, about 2,100 participants between age 38 and 50 wore an accelerometer in 2005 or 2006. They were followed for 11 years after that. 

The participants were separated into three comparison groups: low-step volume (under 7,000 per day), moderate (between 7,000-9,999) and high (more than 10,000).

"You see this gradual risk reduction in mortality as you get more steps," Paluch said adding, "There were substantial health benefits between 7,000 and 10,000 steps but we didn't see an additional benefit from going beyond 10,000 steps." 

"For people at 4,000 steps, getting to 5,000 is meaningful. And from 5,000 to 6,000 steps, there is an incremental risk reduction in all-cause mortality up to about 10,000 steps," Paluch explained.

(With inputs from agencies)

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