The BBC wrote about some new research published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology that looked at the association of steps vs health risk. The researched reviewed the data from 17 studies on over 200,000 people to see what effect walking had on cardiovascular diseases (CVD). This is important as CVD causes 25% of all premature deaths in the UK and account for the largest gap in life expectancy.
The findings were very interesting, it showed that you only need a step average of 3967 steps to reduce your overall mortality for all causes and even less steps, 2337, to reduce just cardiovascular disease related mortality.
There was a greater health benefit with higher steps. Every 1000 steps more you walked, reduced your all-cause mortality by 15% all the way up to 20000 steps a day, with potential for higher steps to give even more benefits (the study didn’t go above this range). The ECS Press Release sums up the data nicely.
What Does This Mean For You?
The data has been fairly clear for a long time now that you need to move!!! There is really nothing easier than walking a few thousand steps a day if you are injury free and in relatively good health. This data shows massive benefits for walking more and more per day which I would encourage also. You can do this by walking some or all of the way to work, taking a lunchtime or after dinner walk, meeting friends for a walk rather than for food or by getting a dog. The steps do NOT need to be done quickly nor consecutively. There really is no excuse to not hit these minimum numbers and you should also be making your family and loved ones achieve this threshold.
Personally, I would expect you to be this basic minimum and encourage everyone to be getting a little out of breath 1-2 times a week for the rest of your life. This is easily done if walking up a hill slightly faster than what is comfortable for you. This jumps you up to another level of health risk prevention. Finally, for those who are consistent with exercise there are even greater health benefit again awaiting you if you really raise your fitness and VO2 Max levels through consistent training long term.
In my experience, way too many people fail to achieve the medium levels of health risk prevention because they try to follow programmes aimed at developing higher level fitness and VO2 max. I would suggest you master just one step at a time.
How many steps a day have you averaged for the last year?
(Check your health app on IPhone or Samsung, it has automatically has been counting in the background. Otherwise, download a free step counter app).
I have averaged 17000 steps over the last year, which equates to around 500,000 per month. My best steps in a month is 1,015,000 before my first bodybuilding competition in 2014 and got near that again at 925 000 the month before my last show in 2021, this averages out to around 30000-33000 steps a day. When my dog was alive I averaged 29000 steps for a year and a half. I currently average between 17-20000 steps but when I am on a fat loss drive I look to push it up to 25000+. My personal best steps in one day is 60000.
Photo – A picture of the research discussed above…
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