Any fitness enthusiast has undoubtedly heard about a mantra that 10,000 steps a day keep aging at bay. While this goal may sound overwhelming at first, many people believe it is achievable to be worth trying. However, is that a reasonable goal for anyone? Read this article to find out if you need to squeeze all those steps into your exercise routine.
Far Fewer Than 10,000 Steps a Day Can Add Years to Your Life
The fitness community has long had a belief that the more vigorously we exercise, the better health and longer lifespan we will achieve. Nonetheless, we tend to exaggerate the workload we need to take, leading to unnecessary efforts. So, how much exercise is sufficient, particularly for reaching maximum longevity?
Why Is Walking Necessary to Achieve Longevity?
Walking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise. Many people believe that in the process of achieving optimal health, we need to implement high-intensity exercises to strengthen our muscles and enhance our metabolism. However, scientific research has shown that getting healthier does not mean that one must spend hours a day exercising with maximum effort in the gym. Actually, instead of getting exhausted with those sweaty workouts, we can achieve better health and longevity by taking a simple strategy: walking.
While this may sound inadequate to enhance our healthspan, research has proven the practicality of this straightforward yet amazingly efficient form of exercise. A 2019 study found that women in their 70s who walked 4,400 steps a day had a 40 percent higher chance of living longer than women who walked fewer steps per day. The possibility of a longer lifespan progressively increased among the women who walked more than 5,000 steps per day, although the benefits leveled off at around 7,500 daily steps.
The Optimal Number of Daily Steps Varies With Individuals
Having a specific figure to aim for is helpful without a doubt. It allows us to focus on one single objective that is significant. However, since no individual has the same physicality as another, this fixed figure may be inaccurate at times and even overused. Although the goal of 10,000 steps per day is widely believed to be optimal for longevity, it is not based on evidence. Instead, the optimal number of steps might be affected by factors such as age or gender and vary with different individuals.
According to a meta-analysis on the effect of daily steps in nearly 50,000 participants, the chance of a longer lifespan among adults from 60 years of age is higher with the increasing number of daily steps from 6,000 to 8,000. This chance among adults younger than 60 years is also higher, from 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day. Therefore, the optimal number is closer to 8,000 steps per day rather than the fixed 10,000 steps. As mentioned earlier, this number may also be either higher or lower depending on age or gender.
More Steps Provide No Additional Benefit for Longevity
Given the proven importance of walking, the same meta-analysis above also implies that the chance of a longer lifespan remains unchanged at over 7,500 steps per day among women older than 62 years and at over 8,000 steps among adults older than 40 years. It means that more steps than that did not offer any additional benefit for longevity. Further, step intensity is irrelevant to the longer lifespan, meaning that the effects of the step number on health are consistent regardless of step intensity.
So, how many steps should you take a day? On this account, it will be best if you can figure out an appropriate step number that fits your personal physicality. One way to figure this out is to take a walk in your reasonable effort using a step tracker, then count the total number of steps at the end of the day. The figure displayed on your device should be your baseline as long as you feel comfortable after the walk. It is essential not to exceed your limit not to cause fatigue or excessive stress that can affect your daily life.
How to Reach the Optimal Number of Daily Steps
To achieve the optimal step goal, you must first identify your present physical condition then work your way up steadily from your baseline. If your daily average is 2,000 steps when you begin, aim for 3,000 steps after every two weeks. Remember, you don’t have to engage in lengthy and strenuous walks to get more exercise. There are many small things you can do during the day to help you reach your ultimate goal, including:
- Always wearing a step tracker
- Taking a walk with your favorite podcast
- Incorporating walking into your commute
- Staying accountable with a walking partner
- Starting an exercise log to keep track of your progress
Walking is significantly involved in achieving a longer lifespan. However, it is the condition of each individual that determines the optimal step number for longevity. If you wish to find out about your situation to begin a healthier life from now, consider an individualized fitness program from Yunique Medical, as we offer personalized, scientifically proven medical services.
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