Another good reason to walk: a longer life

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The Wellness Park

I’m big on walking. I’ve walked everyday for the past five or six years — except when I had a ski accident and knee surgery. But everyday — except for those months — I walk at least 10,000 steps a say.

It’s a great way to start my day. It gets oxygen flowing through my brain and stiff joints. It helps me manage stress. I am impressed by the beauty I see and hear, like the singing birds, clouds, blue skies, flowers, mountains — whatever lies in my path is a sheer delight.

So, when I saw a tweet that said, “Steps For Longer Life: The More You Walk, The Less Likely You’ll Die, Study Finds” I had to click on it. 

Here’s the entire article to read by John Anderer from StudyFinds.com. The study is published in JAMA. 

BETHESDA, Md. — Get up and start walking. The more you do it, the longer you may live. That’s the main piece of advice from a new study that found a higher daily step count is associated with a lower mortality risk from all causes. Who needs the couch anyway?

Even better, the study also noted that it’s not about intensity; you don’t have to run or even jog all day to enjoy a longer life. Just put one foot in front of the other.

The study was conducted by researchers from the National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Aging, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“While we knew physical activity is good for you, we didn’t know how many steps per day you need to take to lower your mortality risk or whether stepping at a higher intensity makes a difference,” says Pedro Saint-Maurice, Ph.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, first author of the study, in a release. “We wanted to investigate this question to provide new insights that could help people better understand the health implications of the step counts they get from fitness trackers and phone apps.”

There have been other studies performed in the past on walking and lifespan, but those projects focused heavily on the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions. This study, however, examined a sample of roughly 4,800 U.S. adults aged 40 and over who wore tracking devices for up to seven days between 2003-2006. After that, each person’s lifespan was tracked up until 2015 using the National Death Index.

After accounting for a range of potentially contributing demographic and behavioral factors, they found a significant connection between steps taken daily and mortality risk.

Generally speaking, 4,000 steps per day is thought to be low for adults. Participants who walked 8,000 steps per day had a 51% lower risk of dying from any cause than those who only walked 4,000 steps per day. Moreover, 12,000 steps per day was linked to a 65% lower mortality risk than 4,000 daily steps. Again, there was no connection found between step intensity and mortality risk.

My husband and I wear Fitbits and we love to get that little celebratory vibration and animated fireworks when we hit 10,000 steps each day. In today’s Coronavirus world, walking to and around the park is one of the only things we’re allowed to enjoy. However, I did return to bike riding and that is another exciting thing to do, too.

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Sunrise on a morning walk.

Do you walk everyday? If, so how many steps are in your daily goal?

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