Earlier this year, The New York Times published a report that announced a 10-minute daily walk could prevent 111,000 premature deaths.
This headline is misleading. People that walk for more than 10-minutes a day – which is practically everyone – will automatically assume they are doing enough.
But that may not be the case.
The crux of the research analysis published by JAMA Internal Medicine which the newspaper article refers to, of course, paints a larger picture. The finding of the study was to demonstrate that people who take more steps in short spurts live longer.
Consequently, the headline should be, walk more often and live longer.
How many steps are sufficient?
There have been several studies over the last decade that has linked walking with a longer lifespan. The optimal amount of steps you should take on a daily basis is believed to be around 7500.
According to the JAMA report, the first 4,500 give you the most benefit. How far you walk, however, should be determined by your age and health status.
Starting from a zero-step count, researchers predict walking 1000 steps at a time each day lowers the risk of death by 28%. The percentage increases to 32% for 2000 steps.
The short studies also showed that age groups that walked greater distances – between 6000-8000 steps a day – had fewer chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure. 61% of women with a high step count were less obese. For every 1000 steps, the risk of obesity improves by 13%.
Researchers concluded that walking in green spaces and out in nature has the most benefits. But the overriding message was to walk more.
If you drive to work, park further away from the office, take “scenic routes’ when you go out with the dog, and walk to the next bus stop. The more you walk, the healthier you will be.