The Power of Walking: The Cheapest, Easiest, Health Hack Around
Staying active is important for our health, and research shows that taking more steps can lower our risk of serious health issues. There is an old theory that we should be targeting 10,000 steps a day, but there hasn’t been much research into why. Below is a recent study that looked at how the number of steps we take each day is linked to all cause mortality and cardiovascular events, which may help encourage you to set your own daily step goals.
Sheng et al., in 2021 analyzed data from 16 different studies, involving over one million people (which is very impressive). The results of the analysis showed that individuals who took more steps per day had a lower risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events. Specifically, the risk of all-cause mortality decreased by 4% for every additional 1,000 steps per day, while the risk of cardiovascular events decreased by 3% for every additional 1,000 steps per day. People who took 10,000 steps a day had a 28% lower risk of dying from any cause and a 20% lower risk of heart problems than those who only took 5,000 steps.
The study also found that the protective effects of increasing step count were consistent across different populations, including healthy individuals and those with pre-existing conditions, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. The authors concluded that increasing your step count is a simple and effective way to reduce the risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events, and that public health interventions should promote physical activity, especially walking, as a means of improving overall health.
To help individuals increase their step count and incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives, here are some practical tips to consider. First, instead of relying solely on motorized transportation, opt for walking or cycling whenever feasible. Whether it’s commuting to work, running errands, or meeting friends, embracing these active modes of transportation can add valuable steps to your day. Additionally, take advantage of breaks and lunch hours to go for short walks or explore nearby parks and green spaces. Integrating a 10–15-minute walk into your routine not only boosts your step count but also provides a refreshing mental break. Another tip is to make small adjustments in your daily habits, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. These seemingly minor changes accumulate over time and contribute to your overall step count. Lastly, consider incorporating technology into your fitness routine. Fitness trackers or smartphone apps can help track your steps and motivate you to achieve daily goals. Setting achievable targets and monitoring progress can be a powerful tool for staying motivated and increasing your step count. By implementing these practical tips, you can make incremental changes to your daily routine and gradually increase your physical activity level, leading to improved health and well-being.
Taking more steps each day can help us be healthier and reduce our risk of dying. It’s also important to remember that other things like what we eat, how we sleep, and how we manage stress can also impact our health.
In short, taking more steps can help us be healthier and reduce our risk of serious health issues. So, next time you have the chance to walk instead of drive or take the stairs instead of the elevator, remember that every step counts towards better health.
Aaron Wallace BSc, MSc, DC, RockTape Ambassador
- Sheng M, Yang J, Bao M, Chen T, Cai R, Zhang N, Chen H, Liu M, Wu X, Zhang B, Liu Y. The relationships between step count and all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events: A dose–response meta-analysis. Journal of sport and health science. 2021 Dec 1;10(6):620-8.
The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not intended to replace professional medical guidance, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a trained healthcare professional before making any changes to your medical treatment plan. The authors of this blog and the website on which it appears are not liable for any consequences arising from the use or reliance on the information provided.