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I just cannot stop writing about the ongoing “steps per day” research to live long, healthy. While 10,000 steps per day has become a popular meme, you don’t need that number to improve your healthspan and lifespan.
As I mentioned in my very first article on this subject in May 2021, just 4000 steps a day doubles your lifespan compared to those who only walk 2000 steps a day. The more you walk, the better it gets. 4000 steps comes to around 30-45 minutes of walking per day…around 3-3.5 km per day.
A recent harmonized meta-analysis  by Amanda Paluch and colleagues, where the authors of the original studies also were involved in the analysis, showed that people over 60-years old who accrue 6000 steps per day, reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by 40-50% compared to those who only accrue 2000 steps per day. These were total steps accrued in a day…if you purposefully go for a walk of 4000 steps, you will likely reach 6000 steps by the end of the day anyway, reiterating the fact that a 30-45 minutes walk every day is a great way to reduce disease risk, in this case specifically, the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Another recent study by Kosuke Inoue and colleagues  compared those who took 8000 steps per day for 2 days in a week to those who did the same for more than 2 days a week to those who took less than 8000 steps per day. They found that those with 8000 steps for just 2 days a week have similar benefits to those who register 8000 steps for more than 3 days a week, suggesting that the health benefits of “steps” accrue even if you are just a “weekend warrior”, walking for 60-90 minutes, twice a week. My take here is that it is still easier to walk for 30-45 minutes every day, by making it a routine, at a fixed time, every day, rather than counting on weekends when any number of events can derail your good intentions.
Lastly is this study by Borja del Pozo Cruz and colleagues  that looked at “steps” per day and the risk of dementia. They investigated 78000 plus people in the UK and found that the higher the “step” count, the lower is the risk of developing dementia, the optimal count being just under 10,000 steps per day. While this is nice, it is tough to reach 10,000 steps per day for most people. I looked at their graphs and a purposeful step count of 4000/day, still reduces the risk of dementia by 50% or so. This is in line with the piece I wrote in Jan 2022 quoting a Korean study that showed that 4000 steps, twice a week can reduce dementia risk, a statistic that I had extrapolated from their study that found that mild/light activity of 1-299 MET-mins/week reduces the risk of dementia compared to those who are inactive.
What does this mean for you and I? 4000 steps is the magic number. 30-45 minutes per day of purposeful walking (not just the total steps per day), improves longevity, both physical and mental. Period.
If you don’t follow any of the other atmasvasth points to live long healthy, just this…walking for 30-45 minutes per day, every day, day after day, without fail, will protect you from a host of diseases and help you live long, healthy.
1. Paluch AE et al; Steps for Health Collaborative. Prospective Association of Daily Steps With Cardiovascular Disease: A Harmonized Meta-Analysis. Circulation. 2023 Jan 10;147(2):122-131.
2. Inoue K et al. Association of Daily Step Patterns With Mortality in US Adults. JAMA Netw Open. 2023 Mar 1;6(3):e235174.
3. Del Pozo Cruz B et al. Association of Daily Step Count and Intensity With Incident Dementia in 78 430 Adults Living in the UK. JAMA Neurol. 2022 Oct 1;79(10):1059-1063.
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