We always hear that 10,000 steps is what we need to stay healthy. The number isn’t science-based. It came from a pedometer sold in 1964 in conjunction with the Tokyo Olympics. It was wildly successful then, and the number stuck around despite never having been tested.
On Fridays, we talk about moving more, exercising and getting outdoors. We rarely like to give exact numbers because everyone is on a different physical fitness journey and has individual goals. We are all starting from unique places and trying our best. Personal achievements matter more than arbitrary numbers. But a study claims it found the exact number of daily steps we should take.
According to the European Society of Cardiology, you need 3,867 steps a day to prevent dying from heart problems and around 4,000 to prevent death in general. They analyzed 17 studies with data from 226,880 participants from around the world. People who walked were less likely to die during their studies, especially from heart problems. The results were seen once people hit the 3,867-step mark.
“Our analysis indicates that as little as 4,000 steps a day are needed to significantly reduce deaths from any cause, and even fewer to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease,” the study authors said.
They went on to say that the hyper-specific number of 2,337 steps also positively impacted health. While it didn’t lower death risks, it did improve heart health compared to sedentary people.
They said that the more people walked, the better their health was. “Our study confirms that the more you walk, the better,” said lead researcher Prof. Maciej Banach of the Univ. of Lodz. “We found that this applied to both men and women, irrespective of age, and irrespective of whether you live in a temperate, sub-tropical or sub-polar region of the world, or a region with a mixture of climates.”
Walking 3,867 steps takes about 40 minutes. For some people, that is very achievable. Perhaps they already meet the goal every day. But for others, it may be a challenge.
Wheelchair users should keep in mind that this language fails to be inclusive. Adding an odometer to a wheelchair makes tracking the equivalent movement as steps easier. One kilometer on a wheelchair odometer equals 1,250 steps.
When we see studies with these hard and fast numbers, we believe it’s essential to take a step back for your well-being. Having a fitness goal is excellent. But what we should all be doing is trying to fit more movement into our days. Moving more and getting more exercise is a step toward a healthier tomorrow. So, this weekend, while the sun is shining and the fall weather is gorgeous, get outside and get moving!