According to Jodi Helmer, new study in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at the average step counts of more than 16,000 people and found those who walked just 4,400 steps per day were 41% less likely to die over the four-year study period compared to those who walked 2,700 steps.
Walking more than 4,400 steps helped lower the risk of all-cause mortality even further, but the benefits leveled off when walkers logged 7,500 steps. In other words, more steps did not equal better outcomes, according to lead researcher I-Min Lee, PhD, an associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
That is a lot better than the 10,000 steps of the past. Most of us don’t have the time it takes to walk that long. Charlene and I are out each morning and we get our walking in early. The sun is coming up later so we start a little later than we did during the hot summer. My goal is 5000 steps a day. I have my Fitbit goal set to 5000 and get the celebration signal for reaching that amount. Walking 5000 steps is about 2.5 miles for me. When home we walk on a 1/3 mile track and get our steps in. When traveling we try to get the steps in also. We just came back from Gatlinburg where we actually got a little more than our goal each day.
Walking has many significant health benefits, including lower levels of depression and anxiety, lower body mass index and waist circumference, improved glycemic control in those with Type 2 diabetes, and reduced blood pressure and lower LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol. If you haven’t been walking much start slow and work up to the 4400 steps a day to maximize your health.