10,000 daily steps help your health, but fast steps are better - 96.9 WINK FM

10,000 daily steps help your health, but fast steps are better


For those of us who made a resolution to exercise more in 2023, getting in your daily 10,000 steps sounds like a good place to start, right? Health experts say so, but new research shows that not only the quantity but the quality of your steps matters.

Ten thousand steps equal around 5 miles. It’s a threshold that researchers say lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. A new study shows that those who move at a faster pace—around 80 to 100 steps a minute—experience more health benefits. In two recent papers, the researchers followed 78,000 people in the UK and found brisk walkers had a 35% lower risk of dying, a 30% lower risk of dementia, and a 25% lower risk of heart disease or cancer, suggesting the pace may be the key.

“A slightly brisker pace—you know, maybe even to the point where you feel it, you’re breathing a little bit heavier—might be better for you,” said Yale researcher and author Dr. Perry Wilson.

Wilson was not involved in the new study, but he says there are important implications. First, he advises his patients to get up and get moving as much as they can.

“I don’t want people to be discouraged looking at 10,000 and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, if I can’t hit that, I shouldn’t even try!’” Wilson said. “Because, really, the data suggests that any movement, any getting up and moving around is gonna reduce your risk in the long-term.”

Wilson suggests people try to get their steps in clusters. Instead of a slow walk around the office throughout the day, build in time to take a 15- or even 30-minute walk at lunch. Science says your heart and your head will thank you for it.

Wilson also recommends using social media to track your steps and those of your family and friends; sometimes, a little friendly competition can be an incentive. As for going over the 10,000-step mark, Wilson says there are no published studies laying out any benefits yet, because very few people go over that threshold on a regular basis.


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