How many steps are enough to reap the benefits of walking? Only 8 000 a day, according to new study

counting steps Picture by Brian Mann /Pexels

counting steps Picture by Brian Mann /Pexels

Published Apr 12, 2023


Walking is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your health. And now, new research suggests that taking 8 000 brisk steps or more per day may be the sweet spot for receiving the health benefits that walking provides.

However, the question of how much walking is necessary to reap these benefits has been a topic of debate.

Previous research has shown that regular walking is associated with lower rates of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. But until now, there has been little guidance on how much walking is enough to reap these benefits.

The study published in JAMA Network Open found that over a decade of follow-up, people who took 8 000 or more steps on one or two days a week were 14.9% less likely to die compared to people who were sedentary.

Walking your dog in nature is good for your health… and your pet’s. l HUMPHREY MULEBA/PEXELS

This is exciting news for anyone looking to improve their health through walking. It means that you don't have to commit to walking every day – just getting in a few brisk walks per week can make a significant impact on your overall health.

But how exactly does walking improve health?

There are several mechanisms at play. First and foremost, walking is a form of cardiovascular exercise, which means it gets your heart pumping and improves your cardiovascular health.

Walking also helps to strengthen muscles, improve joint mobility, and increase bone density. All of these factors contribute to overall physical health and can help prevent injuries and common diseases.

But most importantly, walking is a form of stress relief. Taking a walk in nature can help clear your mind, reduce stress, and improve your overall sense of well-being.

Taking a walk in the outdoors can help clear your mind and relax. l TATIANA SYRIKOVA/PEXELS

This finding is significant because it provides a specific goal for individuals looking to improve their health through walking.

Previous research has shown that walking 10 000 steps per day can provide health benefits, but this may not be feasible or necessary for everyone. The new research suggests that even taking 8 000 steps on just a few days per week can have a significant impact on your health.

It's important to note that not all steps are created equal. A study found that brisk walking enhanced muscular strength, body composition, and cardiorespiratory fitness.

Walking at a leisurely pace may still be beneficial for overall physical activity, but it may not provide the same health benefits as brisk walking.

Research suggests that walking 8 000 brisk steps or more per day can have significant health benefits, including a lower risk of chronic diseases and improved mental health.

Incorporating brisk walking into your daily routine, even if it's just a few days per week, can be a simple and effective way to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

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