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Start With 4,000 Steps! The Health Benefits of Walking

By Orgesta Tolaj

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14 August 2023

Health benefits of walking

©️ Valeria Boltneva / Pexels

If you are someone who checks their daily step count per day, then you are definitely no stranger to the belief that 10,000 steps a day are the minimum for a healthy lifestyle. Although this number has its health benefits, new research conducted by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology on August 6th suggests that 4,000 steps a day are all you need to avoid the risk of early death.

While 10,000 steps a day definitely still has its perks, here are what health benefits of walking you can expect if that number starts to range from 4,000.

father and son walking
© Juliane Liebermann / Unsplash

Changing Your Perspective

Researchers led by Professor Maciej Banach from the Medical University of Lodz in Poland conducted a study about how many steps people should take each day for good health. They found that the current advice of walking 10,000 steps might need to be changed.

The study looked at many other studies, including ones from the UK. The research was conducted by asking 64-year-olds how many steps they took in a week. The researchers followed them for about seven years to see how many of them died early and from heart problems.

They discovered that around 3,867 steps a day (that’s quite a lot!) and at least 2,337 steps a day were the points where the risk of dying early or from heart problems started to go down. But here’s the cool part: the more steps someone could do each day, the better it was for them. For every 1,000 extra steps they took, their chances of dying early went down by 15%. And for every 500 extra steps, their chances of dying from heart problems went down by 7%. So, more steps really seem to be good for staying healthy!

What if You Take More Steps?

The study found that even people who walked a lot, like 20,000 steps, had better health. One thing to note here, however, is that younger people had more benefits than older test subjects.

The person leading the study, Dr. Maciej Banach, said that we should start walking a lot from a young age for the best possible health outcome.

The study looked at around 227,000 people from different countries for about seven years.
Dr. Banach said that some people think you have to walk exactly 10,000 steps a day, but that’s not true. Walking between 7,000 and 13,000 steps a day can be great if you are under 60 years old. If you are 60 or older, walking 6,000 to 10,000 steps a day is enough for you.

While, Dr. Ibadete Bytyçi from the University Clinical Centre of Kosovo, Pristina, Kosovo, senior author of the paper, says:

“Until now, it’s not been clear what is the optimal number of steps, both in terms of the cut-off points over which we can start to see health benefits, and the upper limit, if any, and the role this plays in people’s health.”

She also mentions that there is limited available data on step counts exceeding 20,000 per day. Therefore, these findings need verification through studies involving larger populations.

In a world where accessing your daily step count has become as easy as clicking on an app, it’s not shocking to see that most people keep track of the number of steps they take in a day.
What about you, do you track your daily step count? How many steps do you try to reach in a day? Let us know in the comments below!

Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!

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