Taking up to 10,000 steps every day may be associated with a reduction in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality, as well as the incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease, according to research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
A group of international researchers found in a Sept. 12 study that higher step intensity may provide additional benefits.
The group used UK Biobank study data from 2013 to 2015, including 78,500 individuals in the study population, who included adults ages 40 to 79 years old in England, Scotland and Wales.
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Participants – 55% of whom were women with an average age of 61 years, and the majority of whom were White – were invited by email to partake in an accelerometer study.
The UK adults wore Axivity AX3 wrist accelerometers, which measured daily step count and established cadence-based step-intensity measures.
Their health monitored was a median of seven years.
Morbidity and mortality were ascertained through October of last year, and data analyses were performed in March 2022.
During those years, 1,325 participants died of cancer, and 664 died of cardiovascular disease.
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Using statistical modeling, researchers said that more daily steps were associated with a lower risk of mortality, as well as lower incident disease.
“Steps performed at a higher cadence may be associated with additional risk reduction, particularly for incident disease,” the study noted.
Every 2,000 steps showed that the risk for premature death could fall by 8%-11%.
Limitations to the study include that the design of the study precludes the authors from making causal claims, that the step-count data was collected only once at the starting point of the study, that covariates were not measured at accelerometer-wear date, that some potential for reverse causation may still exist, that the UK Biobank had a very low response rate and participants were not representative of the overall UK population, that residual or unmeasured confounding may still be present and that the relative energy cost of walking and other daily activities is higher in older adults.
A related study published in JAMA Neurology also found that walking up to 10,000 steps a day – and more steps at a higher intensity – may be associated with a lower risk of dementia onset.