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LMU 159 – Walking Your Way to Health: The 12,000 Steps Revolution


LMU 159 – Walking Your Way to Health: The 12,000 Steps Revolution

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association (March 2020)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (April 18, 2020)


They say that the little things in life make the biggest difference, and it seems this wisdom applies perfectly to our health and longevity. For years, the magic number was 10,000 steps a day to maintain good health. However, in March 2020, a groundbreaking study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that upping our daily step count to 12,000 could yield even greater benefits. In this article, we delve into the findings of this study and explore how a simple act like walking can dramatically impact our health, extending our years and reducing the risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular ailments and cancer.

Section 1: Unveiling the Study

To unearth the secrets of the 12,000 steps phenomenon, researchers embarked on a journey with nearly 5,000 adults aged 40 and older. Equipped with a nifty device called an accelerometer, these participants were tracked over a seven-day period between 2003 and 2006. The aim? To measure their daily step count accurately. Fast forward a decade, and the scientists analyzed the collected data alongside mortality rates up until 2015.

Section 2: Stepping Up to Better Health

The results of this exhaustive study were nothing short of revelatory. When compared to individuals taking a meager 4,000 steps per day, those amassing 8,000 steps per day enjoyed a staggering 51% lower risk of all-cause mortality (death from any cause). Now, here’s where it gets truly exciting – achieving 12,000 steps per day was associated with an even more astounding 65% reduction in the risk of death, compared to the 4,000-step group. Importantly, this enhanced step count also translated into a diminished risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Section 3: A Walk to Remember

For many of us who work desk jobs, a daily step count of 4,000 steps or less is par for the course. However, the beauty of this revelation is its simplicity. Just an additional 6,000 steps, or better yet, reaching for 8,000 steps daily, catapults you into a health realm where your risk of all-cause mortality nosedives by 51% to 65%. Achieving this is as straightforward as taking a 20-25-minute walk each day. What’s even more encouraging is that this health transformation isn’t about intensity or speed – it’s purely about the number of steps taken.

Section 4: Steps Speak Louder Than Words

The beauty of this study is in its meticulousness. Researchers accounted for a myriad of factors that can influence health, such as weight, demographics, ethnicity, behavior, and overall health status. Even after factoring in these variables, the daily step count emerged as an independent and significant influencer of all-cause mortality. In simpler terms, walking truly has a remarkable impact on your overall health, regardless of other risk factors.

Section 5: The Power of the Daily Stroll

So, if the gym isn’t your happy place and high-intensity workouts aren’t your cup of tea, studies like this one offer hope. Simply aiming for a daily step count of 12,000 steps can yield remarkable improvements in your health and substantially reduce the risk of all-cause mortality. This goal is easily attainable, making it an accessible strategy for most people. It’s reassuring news for individuals who aren’t keen on formal exercise routines. In essence, the act of walking can be your key to longevity, healthy life expectancy, and an improved quality of life. In the world of step counts, 12,000 is the new 10,000.

Conclusion: Step into a Healthier Tomorrow

In the grand scheme of life, it’s often the smallest actions that lead to the most profound changes. Walking, a simple and accessible activity, has emerged as a potent weapon against mortality and chronic diseases. By amassing 12,000 steps a day, you can pave the way to a healthier, longer, and more vibrant life. So, lace up your walking shoes, hit the pavement, and step into a brighter, healthier tomorrow.


  1. 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. [Link](
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Dr. Meschino

Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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