Can increasing your daily step count reduce your risk of mortality?
It turns out, YES!
A study came out of japan looking at daily step counts and all cause mortality. They looked at 70 year old Japanese people who were physically independent and asked them to wear a pedometer for 7 days to measure their steps to establish their baseline steps. They were then put into different groups depending on their average steps per day. They were not asked to change or alter their steps but were tracked over time to see how their own preferred steps per day correlated with mortality.
The participants were then followed for almost 10 years to determine the mortality rates.
After the 10 years, the group of participants who took the most steps per day (over 7900 steps/day) had a significantly lower risk of death compared with participants who took less than 4500 steps/day.
What does this mean for you?
Generally speaking, this mean you should strive for 7900 steps per day or more (if you are managing health conditions, check with your primary doctor first).
But how do you get there? Well, that depends on where you are at. The first step would be to determine what your daily steps are. Investing in a pedometer or carrying your phone with you to track your steps for a week of normal activity will give you a baseline and a place to start.
Once you know your normal steps. You would slowly increase each week by incorporating more walks, more activities around the home, and more exercise. Working with a health care professional like a physician or physical therapist can help you create a plan with safe progressions to safely increase your daily steps!
Who knew something as simple as walking would have such a positive impact on your life?!
Resource: Yamamoto, N., Miyazaki, H., Shimada, M. et al. Daily step count and all-cause mortality in a sample of Japanese elderly people: a cohort study. BMC Public Health 18, 540 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5434-5