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Walking 8,200 Steps A Day Keeps Chronic Diseases At Bay?

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 15 November 2022, Updated on - 04 December 2022

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Walking is undoubtedly an excellent form of moderate-intensity exercise that can help you stay healthy. However, there's often a disagreement over how many steps one needs to walk per day to reap the advantages. 5000? 10,000? or even more?

For a long time, many people believed that walking 10,000 steps per day should be the daily fitness goal. That figure, however, has now been debunked as 10,000 steps are an arbitrary number to put.

While the 10,000-step goal may not be as useful as assumed earlier, a recent study published in the journal Nature, discovered that walking 8,200 steps per day is associated with a lower risk of getting specific chronic diseases. Particularly, walking 8,200 steps per day resulted in a decreased risk of obesity, sleep apnoea, chronic constipation, anaemia and major depressive disorder.

The Study

The researchers examined data from 6,042 participants in the NIH's "All of Us" study for 4-years. All the participants were given Fitbit wristbands to track their activity. It was noted that the participants walked 7,731 steps each day on average. The data was collected over 5,991,662 person-days and over 50.6 billion total steps.

Note: Person days are used to measure the ideal amount of work done by a person in one working day.

The group comprised nearly 73% females between the age group of 41.5 to 67.6 years and a median BMI of 28.1.

The result of the study showed strong connections with various chronic illnesses. It was found that increasing the step count from 4,000 to 8,000 was more advantageous than going from 8,000 to 12,000. However, more research is required to discover whether these findings also apply to other categories of people.

The intensity of the step count is important

Step intensity is calculated by counting the number of steps taken per minute. A moderate pace is approximately 100 steps per minute, while a vigorous intensity is marked at 130 steps per minute. Both were deemed to be effective in the study.

Participants who walked more vigorously, such as on an incline or at a faster pace, showed better health outcomes, such as a lower BMI. The more frequently the heart rate spiked, the better chances were there to lower the risk of chronic diseases.

How can you increase your step count per day?

To increase your daily step count:

  1. Avoid driving: If it's not too far, walk to the store. If public transit is available, use it.
  2. Park at a distant spot: If one has to drive, park as far away from the venue or store as possible to add up those extra steps.
  3. Take the stairs: Avoid the elevator or escalator wherever possible.
  4. Walk and talk at the same time: While walking, call a friend, family member, or co-worker. It will help in multitasking and may take one's mind off the movement if that is something that benefits.

To Sum It Up

Even if a person is unable to complete 8,200 steps every day, they can commit to a shorter goal at first. Something is always better than nothing, especially when it comes to exercising. Simply prioritising a daily walk will provide benefits such as increased mood, strength building, and joint pain reduction. A 21-minute daily walk (which roughly covers the goal of 8200 steps) also reduces the risk of heart disease by 30%. So, by increasing the step count or adding some diversity, one can improve their overall health. If you are planning on adding any new exercise to your regime, 

Consult An Apollo Specialist

 

Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.

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