Study Suggests Taking 7,000 Steps a Day for Health Benefits

Close-up of woman athlete feet and shoes while running in park. Walking for health.

Photo: BOGDAN.HODA/DepositPhotos

It has often been said that 10,000 steps a day is good for your health. However, this number of steps can be difficult to achieve with busy schedules or if one has not been walking regularly. While any steps are good steps, a new study published by JAMA Network in Nutrition, Obesity, and Exercise suggests that the threshold of 7,000 steps brings with it significant health benefits. This threshold may be an easier goal to motivate exercise.

Researchers under physical activity epidemiologist Amanda Paluch from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst conducted a long-term study to examine what step threshold leads to a decline in mortality rate. They studied 2,110 individuals including Black and white, male and female participants. The subjects were middle-aged, with an average of just over 45 years old. They followed the individuals from 2005 to 2018 while they wore accelerometers during their daily activities. By 2018, three percent of the original participants had died.

Because of the nature of the experiment, direct causation cannot be inferred between steps and morality. However, correlation suggests the benefits of hitting the 7,000 step mark. Those who hit the threshold of steps boasted a 50 to 70 percent lower risk of early death than those who fell short of the step number. Intensity of steps did not seem to impact health benefits, suggesting any sort of step counts.

However, those currently taking very few steps a day can get the greatest increase in benefits by stepping up their total. The law of diminishing returns seems to apply here—a step total over 10,000 did not seem to confer additional benefits where mortality was concerned. While 10,000 steps is a great goal for some, step totals are not a one-sized-fits-all health solution. This new research suggests that for middle aged people, 7,000 might be a good and more achievable goal. At least it is a step in the right direction for longevity.

A new study suggests a 7,000 daily step goal may actually confer significant longevity benefits.

Family Walking Dog Through Winter Woodland

Photo: MONKEYBUSINESS/DepositPhotos

h/t: [Science Alert]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and reading while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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