Topic: 12,000 is the new 10,000 when it comes to Steps Per Day
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association (March 2020)
Lifestyle Medicine Update No 159 (April 16, 2020)
with Dr. James Meschino
For a long time, we have been told that 10,000 steps per day is the target we should shoot for to help reduce risk of various health conditions, but on March 24, 2020, an important study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that we should be bumping up our daily step count to 12,000 steps per day to derive in greater benefits. In life, it’s often little things that make the big difference and this study really highlights the importance of these words when it comes to health, longevity and even decreasing our risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
In this study researchers followed almost 5,000 US adults, ages 40 and older, using a device called an accelerator to measure their number of steps per day for a 7-day period, during the period 2003 to 2006. The subjects were then followed for mortality through to the year 2015. (roughly a 10-year follow-up period) The results showed that compared with taking only 4,000 steps per day, taking 8,000 steps per day was associated with a 51% lower risk for all-cause mortality (or death from all causes). But, taking 12,000 steps per day was associated with a 65% lower risk of death, compared with taking 4,000 steps. These higher step counts even included a reduction in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
For people with desk jobs, it’s not uncommon to see a daily step count of 4,000 steps per day or fewer. So, simply bumping that up by 6,000 steps, or more ideally 8,000 steps per day, gets you into the category where the risk of all-cause mortality is 51% to 65% lower. This can be done by simply taking a 20-25-minute walk per day. Even more encouraging is the fact that researchers showed it was the step count, not the intensity or the walking speed, that was critical to deriving these health benefits. In this study, the researchers controlled for other risk factors for disease, such as being overweight, demographics and ethnicity, behavioural risk factors, health status, etc. After controlling for these factors, a person’s daily step count showed an independent and significant impact on the risk of all-cause mortality (death from all causes).
So, if you’re not a person who is crazy about hitting the gym or working out with a high-intensity program, research findings like this show us that just aiming for a daily step count of 12,000 steps per day can significantly improve one’s health and reduce risk of all-cause mortality. It’s a goal most people can handle without it being too challenging or demanding. But a small effort like this can pay big dividends regarding longevity, healthy life expectancy and quality of life. It’s really encouraging news for individuals who are not inclined to do a formal exercise routine. That’s a lot of people. But we now see you can get tremendous benefit from just walking 12,000 steps per day. So, 12,000 is the new 10,000
I have included the reference for this information in the text below.
Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Richard P. Troiano, David R. Bassett, Barry I. Graubard, Susan A. Carlson, Eric J. Shiroma, Janet E. Fulton, Charles E. Matthews. Association of Daily Step Count and Step Intensity With Mortality Among US Adults. JAMA, 2020; 323 (12): 1151
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. James Meschino