Many folks aim to get the magic “10,000 steps” each day.
Some even wear fitness devices to track their steps… and celebrate when they hit their goal.
Of course, many people, especially as they age, get overwhelmed by such large numbers. As a result, they end up doing nothing.
If you can relate, well, I’m here to tell you 10,000 steps may not be a magic number after all.
In fact, new research findings suggest you can aim much lower—and STILL reap the benefits.
Less steps = up to 50 percent lower risk
We have all heard by now that taking more steps each day is associated with a progressively lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
But a recent meta-analysis revealed those health benefits start WELL BELOW the much-touted 10,000 steps.
In fact, among adults aged 60 and older, researchers found those who took roughly 6,000 to 9,000 steps daily had a 40 to 50 percent lower risk of CVD, compared to those only taking 2,000 steps daily.
And to give you a little perspective on what your peers may be doing…
In this analysis, the median step count was just over 4,300 steps daily for those 60 and older.
That means you could still protect your heart with even about half the work! (Just remember that ANY steps are better than NO steps at all.)
Set small, attainable goals
There are a couple of things I want to point out about this analysis…
First, the same association—between step count and lower CVD risk—held among older adults with known CVD at the start of the study.
Second, researchers did not analyze step pace. But, as I’ve reported before, walking faster can boost cardiovascular benefits. Of course, taking that first step is major—no matter how small or slow. Then, you can build from there.
At the end of the day, the take home message is pretty clear to me…
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get moving. And one of the simplest things you can do to protect your cardiovascular system.
So, if you are sedentary—or only move a little—set SMALL goals. It doesn’t have to be drastic, just include some steps in your daily routine, even for just five minutes to start.
If you’re already a walker, set a goal of an additional 1,000 steps per day. Remember, each improvement leads to an improved heart!
Here’s to walking more… and sitting less!
“6,000 steps a day can lower risk of heart disease, death for older adults.” StudyFinds, 12/22/2022. (studyfinds.org/6000-steps-heart-disease-death/)