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A recent study found that heart failure patients can enhance their health by increasing their daily walk’s number of steps. The use of a step counter is deemed significant for clinical purposes and could influence subsequent trials and medical treatment.

Walking exercise beneficial for heart health

During the study, patients’ health was assessed on a scale of zero to 100, considering physical limitations, symptom frequency, quality of life, and social limitations. They wore health trackers similar to Fitbit for 12 weeks. The research team observed that those who walked more experienced improved exercise capability and reported fewer symptoms.

Over the 12-week study, the participants significantly increased their walking habits, resulting in a four-point improvement in their physical limitation scores. In the second week, their average score was 55.7 out of 100, and their symptom frequency average score improved by 2.5 points during the study period.

Participants with more frequent symptoms of heart failure had an average of 2,473 daily steps, with a symptom score ranging from zero to 24. Meanwhile, among the 425 participants, those scoring between 75 and 100 on the symptom scale had an average of 5,351 daily steps.

Main study author Jessica Golbus said that in light of the growing accessibility of wearable technology for monitoring physical activity, comprehending the clinical implications of activity variations has become paramount. The outcomes of the investigation demonstrated a notable correlation between heightened step counts and enhancements in health status, implying that progressive increments in step count recorded by a wearable device could possess clinical significance.

Increasing steps increases health benefits

Therefore, if providers observe increased step counts, it indicates improved health status in patients. On the other hand, a decrease in step counts does not automatically imply the opposite and may not demand immediate intervention. However, it may warrant a follow-up with the patient.

Participants in the study climbed an average of 2.7 floors per day, regardless of their disease manifestation. The most significant improvement was seen in those who increased their daily step count by 1,000 to 5,000 steps. Beyond 5,000 steps, additional increases did not have a significant impact.