A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has found that an increase in daily step count is linked with decreased mortality risk of all causes.
Investigators from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA), both parts of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have found that the number of steps a person takes each day, but not the intensity of stepping, has a strong association with death rate.
This might come as a breeze in such hard times. Our study published today on the health benefits of steps per day.
Association of Daily Step Count and Step Intensity With Mortality Among US Adults https://t.co/lVYwGFqqXl
— Pedro Saint-Maurice PhD (@psaintmaurice) March 24, 2020
This study was observational and total participants were around 40,000. U.S. adults aged 40 or more wore an accelerometer for seven days from 2003 to 2006. The link between mortality, step number and intensity was checked after fixing risk factors such as BMI and health status.
The results of the study showed that 8,000 steps per day were linked with a 51% lower risk for all-cause mortality whereas 12,000 daily steps were linked with a 65% lower risk. For adults, 4,000 steps per day were considered below average.
When analysis of subgroups was done, it showed that in both men and women, younger and older adults, white, black and Mexican-American adults, higher steps were considered to be linked with lower all-cause death rate.
Data was collected through the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Dr. Pedro Saint-Maurice, of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and the first author of the study, says:
While we knew physical activity is good for you, we didn’t know how many steps per day you need to take to lower your mortality risk or whether stepping at a higher intensity makes a difference. We wanted to investigate this question to provide new insights that could help people better understand the health implications of the step counts they get from fitness trackers and phone apps.
Many past studies have proved that physical activity can bring a lot of difference and changes the incidence of diseases in humans but this study has found the actual number of steps that are needed to stay healthy.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults perform exercise for 150 minutes to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes to 150 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise. Health benefits could only be obtained if 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity occurs in a week.
Dr. Janet Fulton, from CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, believes that if one remains physically active, it can decrease the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and many cancers. It can make metabolism better and make one’s sleep better at night. CDC is also running the Active People, Healthy Nation initiative, which aims to make it easier and safe for people to become active in their communities.