How many steps do you have to take a day for there to be a real effect on health? According to a new study by the University of Massachusetts, in the United States, published in the scientific journal Jama Network on the 3rd of this month, the magic number is 7,000. But actually it’s not magic, it’s science. The researchers involved followed 2,110 adults aged 38 to 50 years for an average of 10.8 years and concluded that walking 7,000 steps a day reduces all-cause mortality in adults. During the study period, participants who took at least 7,000 steps a day had a 50% to 70% lower mortality risk than those who took less than 7,000 steps a day.
+ Study confirms that knowing the benefits of exercise increases dedication to physical activity
+ Benefits of walking to combat sedentary lifestyles and cardiovascular diseases
Taking a light walk every day can help you get out of a sedentary lifestyle — Photo: Getty Images
Importantly, in the study there was no association of step intensity with mortality, that is, the benefit comes with walking at any pace.
– But increasing the intensity over time is important, it offers even more benefits – explains cardiologist and sports doctor Mateus Freitas Teixeira, who however believes that what is important, at first, is for the person to move.
The study highlights that step counting is available in pedometers installed on most cell phones, in apps and in sports watches, making life easier for those who want a change in habits and who would like to meet the daily goal of 7,000 steps. But even this goal can be a factor of giving up for some and motivation for others, believes Mateus, who is a cardiologist at Vasco da Gama.
– When you can’t get that many steps one day, then another, you can get discouraged and give up. Therefore, in the beginning, the ideal is to walk freely, without thinking about numbers. Simply seeking to walk more, and we are not just talking about walking as a structured physical exercise. We are also talking about going to the market, the bank, the bakery on foot, going up stairs instead of taking the elevator, and that is what this study is also talking about. Only after a while, after getting a taste for walking, can this number of 7,000 steps become, yes, a motivational factor. Having a goal, after the habit is created, helps a lot – recommends the doctor.
Mateus assessed the extent and rigor of the study, which highlights the important clinical implications of the walk. And it lists the main benefits of walking for cardiovascular health.
- Reduces vessel inflammation
- lowers blood pressure
- Controls the glycemic index
– A physical activity such as walking reduces inflammation of blood vessels and promotes peripheral vasodilation, which acts directly to control hypertension. This has a huge impact on cardiovascular health. It also reduces blood glucose, which is very important in fighting diabetes. Physical activity is a remedy for diabetes and hypertension, among many other chronic diseases. And medicine needs regularity. Therefore, it is important to walk always, every day – concludes the doctor.
Source: Mateus Freitas Teixeira he is a sports doctor and cardiologist. He is the cardiologist of the Club de Regatas do Vasco da Gama, medical coordinator of the Fit Center and physician of the Integrated Medical Solutions sector of the Complexo Hospitalar de Niterói (SER CHN), in addition to being a member of the Sports Medicine Committee of the Fluminense Medical Association (AMF) and Director of the Society of Exercise and Sports Medicine of Rio de Janeiro (SMEERJ). He is one of the researchers of the two Brazilian studies mentioned in the report and coordinator of Covid Group Control during the Copa America 2021.