How many daily steps do you need to take to live longer?

These questions are at the heart of the two new studies, which examine the links between activity and longevity from distinct but interse...


These questions are at the heart of the two new studies, which examine the links between activity and longevity from distinct but intersecting perspectives. The first of the studies, published this month in JAMA Network Open, centered on the steps. Most of us know the daily step count as an activity goal because our phones, smartwatches, and other activity trackers typically prompt us to take a certain number of steps each day, often 10,000. But like i wrote before, current science does not show that we need 10,000 steps for health or longevity.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the CDC, and other institutions have questioned whether, instead, smaller step totals could be linked to longer lifespan. So they turned to data collected in recent years for a large, ongoing study looking at health and heart disease in middle-aged men and women. Most of the participants had joined the study around 10 years earlier, when they were in their 40s. Back then, they would take medical tests and wear an activity tracker to count their steps every day for a week.

Now the researchers have extracted the files of 2,110 of the participants and checked their names against the death records. They found that 72 participants had died in the past decade, a relatively small number but not surprising given the relative youth of the people. But scientists have also noticed a strong association with the number of steps and mortality. Men and women accumulating at least 7,000 steps per day when they joined the study were about 50% less likely to have died since than those who took less than 7,000 steps, and the risks of mortality continued. to decrease as the number of steps of the people increased, reaching such a high level. 70% less risk of premature death for those who take more than 9,000 steps.

But at 10,000 paces, the profits stabilized. “There was a point of diminishing returns,” said Amanda Paluch, assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who led the new study. People taking more than 10,000 steps a day, if not many more, seldom outlived those who took at least 7,000.

Fortunately, the second study, which was published in August in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, settled on broadly similar activity levels as the best bets for a long life. This study looked at data from the decades-long Copenhagen City Heart Study, which has recruited tens of thousands of Danish adults since the 1970s and asked them how many hours each week they exercise or exercise. ‘exercise, including cycling (very popular in Copenhagen), tennis, jogging, swimming, handball, weight lifting, badminton, soccer and others.

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