DALLAS, Texas — For fitness enthusiasts who constantly count their steps, a new study has good news for those who always find time to squeeze in a few more each day. It turns out taking more steps per day can help you live longer. Moreover, researchers say it doesn’t matter if you take them all at once or in short spurts, just getting those steps in can lower the risk of premature death.
The study, involving more than 16,000 women over the age of 60, also suggests that 4,500 steps per day is enough to help extend the human lifespan. In comparison to taking no steps at all, researchers find each additional 1,000 steps contributes to a 28 percent decrease in death among study participants.
More daily steps may lead to more birthdays later on
Study authors asked participants to wear a step-counting device to measure activity over four to seven days. The devices kept track of everything from long walks outside to short spurts while climbing stairs. Women who took more than 2,000 steps daily in uninterrupted bouts displayed a 32 percent decrease in risk of death. A prior analysis of the same women also discovered that those who took 4,500 steps per day had a significantly lower risk of death in comparison to the least active women.
“Technological advances made in recent decades have allowed researchers to measure short spurts of activity. Whereas, in the past we were limited to only measuring activities people could recall on a questionnaire,” says study leader Christopher Moore, a PhD student in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, in a media release. “With the help of wearable devices, more research is indicating that any type of movement is better than remaining sedentary.”
“Older adults face many barriers to participating in structured exercise programs, so some may find it more convenient and enjoyable to increase everyday walking behaviors, like parking slightly further from their destination or doing some extra housework or yardwork,” Moore adds.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the average American takes between 3,000 and 4,000 steps each day. That’s the equivalent of roughly two miles of walking. While that may sound like a lot, some experts place the goal for peak fitness at around 10,000 steps daily.
Researchers presented their findings at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Conference 2021.
SWNS writer Joe Morgan contributed to this report.