NEW HAVEN, Conn. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – For those of us who made a resolution to get more exercise in this new year, getting in your daily 10000 steps sounds like a good place to start, right? Health experts say yes, but new research shows that it’s not only the quantity of steps, but the quality that matters.
Ten-thousand steps – just about five miles. It’s a threshold that researchers say lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and dementia.
Now, a new study shows those who move at a faster pace —about 80 to 100 steps a minute – have more health benefits. In two recent papers, the researchers followed 78,000 people in the U.K. and found brisk walkers had a 35 percent lower risk of dying, a 30 percent lower risk of dementia, and a 25 percent lower risk of heart disease or cancer, suggesting the pace may be the key.
Yale researcher and author F. Perry Wilson, MD was not involved in the new study, but he says there are important implications. First, he advises his patients to get up and get moving as much as they can.
“I don’t want people to be discouraged looking at 10,000 and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, if I can’t hit that, I shouldn’t even try!’ because, really, the data suggests that any movement, any getting up and moving around is gonna reduce your risk in the long-term,” Dr. Wilson tells Ivanhoe.
Dr. Wilson suggests people try to get their steps in clusters. Instead of a slow walk around the office throughout the day, build in time to take a 15 or even 30-minute walk at lunch.
Dr. Wilson recommends using social media to track your steps and those of your family and friends. Sometimes a little friendly competition can be an incentive. Also, Dr. Wilson says for those of us who want to know if there are additional benefits to going over the 10,000 step mark, there are no published studies yet because very few people go over that threshold on a regular basis.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: 10000 STEPS: THE PACE MAKES A DIFFERENCE
REPORT: MB #5164
BACKGROUND: A study in JAMA Neurology found that walking about 10000 steps a day was linked to less cardiovascular disease (heart disease, stroke and heart failure), 13 types of cancer, and dementia. Taking 10,000 steps is about the same as walking four or five miles, depending on your stride. Scientists from the University of Sydney and the University of Southern Denmark studied 78,500 adults in the U.K. between 2013 and 2015. Researchers looked at their health outcomes seven years later. They found that walking 10,000 steps a day lowers the risk of dementia by about 50 percent, the risk of cancer by about 30 percent and the risk of cardiovascular disease by about 75 percent. More than 60 percent of adults do not engage in the recommended amount of activity, and 25 percent are not active at all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
DIAGNOSING: Many experts say we should aim for 10,000 steps a day (or around 3-5 miles daily, depending on your gait). But why? Walking 10,000 steps a day can help strengthen your heart, maintain weight, reduce body fat, improve muscle tone, regulate blood sugar levels, improve brain function, improve balance and build muscle, and boost mood.
NEW INFORMATION: Exercise is clearly good for your physical and mental health, and 10,000 has a nice, scientific ring to it. But that number was actually made up by a Japanese marketing campaign, so a team out of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst set out to fix that, finally conducting a study to determine how many steps you should really aim for. The researchers determined, as expected, that getting more exercise is good. Six thousand steps beats 5,000 and 5,000 beats 4,000 for health outcomes. But they didn’t find anything particularly special about 10,000 steps (except going much beyond it brought no additional health benefits at all). Instead 7,000 steps seemed to be an important inflection point. Taking that many steps reduced participants’ chances of premature death by 50 to 70 percent.
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