Researchers from the University of Massachusetts’s Institute of Applied Sciences have found that counting daily steps has health benefits for middle-aged adults. According to the study titled Steps per Day and All-cause Mortality Rate in Middle-aged Adults in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study, steps reduce the risk of heart diseases among this population.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that exercising can impact mental and physical health. It strengthens bones and muscles, improves sleep quality, lowers the risk of certain cancers, improves learning and thinking skills, and reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.
Many people take the recommendation by the CDC to mean more intense workouts. However, this new study shows that taking about 7000 steps every day, especially for middle-aged adults, can benefit health.
How researchers conducted the study
The researchers used participants from the age of 38 to 50 and recorded their alcohol and cigarette intake, race, education, dietary habits, BMI, and age. These participants wore accelerometers from 2005-2006. Researchers split them into three groups. They required the first group to take less than 7000 daily steps. The second took 7,000-9999 steps, while the final took more than 10,000 steps.
Results showed that the group with a moderate number of steps (7000-9999) had a lower mortality risk. Moreover, 7000 steps reduced mortality by 50-70%. These findings were not new, as a previous study had shown a correlation between mortality and steps. However, unlike the other one, the latest research does not take step intensity into account. Therefore, walking about 7000 steps every day can impact health even without accounting for time and power.
Previous studies have reported the importance of steps
Many studies have looked into the health impact of daily steps. For instance, a study in 2020 conducted on a group of volunteers aged about 70 showed that steps reduced the risk of diabetes. Another study carried out in the same year showed that people benefited more from taking 8000 steps than 4000 steps. However, going more than 10,000 daily steps can increase the risk of mortality.
More studies are to find a correlation between steps count and socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds because most studies always present minorities in the lower step groups.