How 4000 extra steps a day can make you live longer.

Taking an extra 4,000 steps a day might reduce your risk of dying prematurely. And you don’t even have to walk very fast to achieve that effect. A recent large-scale study of moving and mortality. The study was released in March of this year right in the middle of the pandemic when so many of us were confined to their homes. Many were then worried about their lack of movement and noticed weight gain because of that. The study showed that taking extra steps throughout the day does not have to come from a run or other strenuous exercise. It showed that for every additional 4000 steps you take in a day, even if it’s “only” going around the block to let the dog out or taking steps doing chores in the house, the risk of dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease and cancer drops by 50 percent and more.

If you have no idea how many steps you take on an average day then now is the time to check this out. To keep of track of it you can use a built-in app on your smartphones or an activity tracker or watch (like Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin,…).

In this recent study which was published in JAMA, studied the data from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which documented responses from tens of thousands of Americans about their lifestyle and exercise habits. A large part of the participants also were asked to wear activity trackers so researchers could correctly track their daily movements.

A group of around 5,000 men and women who had been wearing the activity trackers were involved in the study. The group consisted of middle-aged or older men/women and included people from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds and different origins like Caucasian, African-American and Hispanic to have a representative sampling of American adults.

The scientists tracked:

  • the number of daily steps the men and women got
  • the number of steps per minute indicating the intensity of their movements as well as how many steps per minute they accumulated.

The participants were divided into groups based on their activity level, using 4,000-step increments (so a group of 4000, 8000,12.000 steps). They then consulted the national death registry for participants who had died during the last 10 years and also linked this with people’s lifestyle.

The results were quite surprising and unexpected: “Based on a representative sample of US adults, a greater number of daily steps was significantly associated with lower all-cause mortality. There was no significant association between step intensity and mortality after adjusting for total steps per day.”(sic)

One would have expected that the intensity level of steps was also linked to longevity but that appeared not to be the case. But the average number of steps per day did make a difference. Taking 8000 steps a day reduces you risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease by 50%. When participants took 12 000 steps a day that risk was even reduced with 65% compared to the low-activity group taking less then 4000 steps. No extra benefit was seen from the intensity level of those steps.

So no matter what other results come from this study or other studies, the message is loud and clear: get moving! Take more steps! Go outside for a walk and if for some reason you have to stay inside then step in place on some fun music. What are you waiting for?

If you need some support in that area and want to know more about the benefits of walking for longevity and weight loss then join my Facebook community: Natural Weight Freedom.