10,000 steps a day keeps the doctor away. This rule has long been used in marketing for step counters. So much so that it’s become ingrained in the health consciousness. However, is there any scientific basis for this? A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine provides some answers.
For this study, researchers collected data from over 16,700 women aged 62 and older. Between 2011 and 2015, the participants wore accelerometers during waking hours that tracked their daily step counts. The question scientists were looking to answer was whether increased steps were associated with fewer deaths.
The key findings were as follows:
- Sedentary women averaged 2,700 steps a day
- Women who averaged 4,400 daily steps had a 41% reduction in mortality compared to sedentary women
- Mortality rates progressively improved before leveling off at 7,500 daily steps
The good news is, people who fall short of 10,000 daily steps can still see benefits as far as mortality is concerned.
Lee, I-Min, et al. “Association of Step Volume and Intensity With All-Cause Mortality in Older Women.” JAMA Internal Medicine, 29 May 2019, doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0899