A fundamental habit for optimal health, longevity, and freedom from heart diseased is regular physical activity. Walking is the most common natural fitness habit across the world, whether as part of an occupation or soley for the purpose of health goals. It is possible people might be discouraged from walking for fitness if time or other constraints are limiting factors.
The optimal number of steps/day and their role in health is still unclear. Therefore, an analysis of multiple databases was performed to identify the minimal number of steps/day to lower overall death and cardiovascular mortality risks.
The researchers systematically searched relevant electronic databases from inception until June 2022. The main endpoints were all-cause mortality and CV mortality.
Seventeen cohort studies with a total of 226,889 participants (generally healthy or patients at CV risk) with a follow-up 7 years were included in the meta-analysis.
A 1000-step increment was associated with a 15% decreased risk of all-cause mortalty while a 500-step increment was associated with a 7% decrease in CV mortality.
Compared with a refernce of 3967 steps/day 3967, an average of 5537 steps/day vs an average of 7370 steps/day vs. an average of 11,529 steps/day were associated with lower risk for all-cause mortality by 48%, 55&, and 67%, respectively.
Higher levels of steps/day were also associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality by 16%, 49&, and 77%.
This meta-analysis demonstrates a significant inverse association between daily step count and all-cause mortality and CV mortality. The more steps the better but even 3967 steps/day reduced all-cause mortality and only 2337 steps/day measurably lowered cardiovascular mortality. The bottom line message is that 10,000 plus steps a day is a noble goal with measureable health benefits but even lower achievements have important consequences on health and lifespan predictions.
The senior author from Lodz, Poland indicated that "Our study confirms that the more you walk, the better,” says Prof. Banach. “We found that this applied to both men and women, irrespective of age, and irrespective of whether you live in a temperate, sub-tropical or sub-polar region of the world, or a region with a mixture of climates. In addition, our analysis indicates that as little as 4,000 steps a day are needed to significantly reduce deaths from any cause, and even fewer to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease.”