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8,000 steps a day 'enough to reduce risk of premature death'

By Tom Walker    07 Nov 2023
Walking 8,000 steps a day is optimal for longevity / Wavebreakmedia
People need to take 8,000 steps each day to significantly reduce the risk of premature death
The figure comes from a study, led by the University of Granada (UGR) in Spain
The study also found that faster walking is associated with a reduced risk of mortality
The study revealed no difference between men and women when it came to the optimal number of steps

Researchers are claiming to have provided the first scientific proof of how many steps a person needs to take each day, in order to significantly reduce the risk of premature death.

A team, led by the University of Granada (UGR) in Spain, conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of data from twelve international studies involving more than 110,000 participants.

It identifies, for the first time, that 8,000 is the optimal number of steps at which most people obtain the greatest benefits.

The study also found that faster walking is associated with a reduced risk of mortality, regardless of the total number of steps per day.

Interestingly, the study revealed no difference between men and women when it came to the optimal number of steps.

The research was carried out in collaboration between researchers from the Netherlands (Radboud University Medical Center), Spain (Universities of Granada and Castilla-La Mancha) and the United States (Iowa State University).

It was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“Traditionally, many people thought that you had to reach about 10,000 steps a day to obtain health benefits – an idea that came out of Japan in the 1960s but had no basis in science,” said lead author of the study, Francisco B. Ortega, a professor at the UGR’s Department of Physical Education and Sports.

"We’ve shown for the first time that the more steps you take, the better, and that there is no excessive number of steps that has been proven to be harmful to health.

“Measurable benefits can be obtained with small increases in the number of steps per day, and for people with low levels of physical activity, every additional 500 steps improves their health.

"This is good news because not everyone can walk almost 9,000 steps a day, at least not at first, so you can set small, reachable goals and gradually make progress and increase the number of steps per day."

Esmée Bakker from the University of Granada – and one of the lead authors of the study – added: “What makes our study different is that, for the first time, we set clear step targets.

"The international physical activity recommendations advise adults to get 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

"But most people don’t know what exercises count as moderate intensity, making it difficult to verify their compliance with this exercise standard.

"Counting steps is much simpler, especially since most people have a smartphone or smartwatch these days.

"Herein lies the importance of our study: to provide simple and concrete targets for the number of daily steps that people can easily measure with their phones and smartwatches or wristbands, and thereby contribute to people’s health."

To read the full research report, click here.

Steps  university of granada 
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