Taking at least 7,000 steps a day cuts the risk of death for middle-aged adults by up to 70%, says new research, which updates the old idea that it was necessary to walk at least 10,000 steps a day to have these positive health effects. .
Conducted by the University of Massachusetts (USA), the study divided participants who walked more than 10,000 steps daily into a different group from those who walked approximately 7,000.
At the end of the survey, both had similar mortality rates.
In the group that walked less than 7,000 steps a day, the rate was higher compared to the other two.
The researchers also pointed out that those who walk little are more likely to have a higher BMI (Body Mass Index), less medical follow-up and a higher prevalence of hypertension and diabetes.
The study followed 2,110 people for 11 years. The group consisted of men and women, with an average age of 45 years. The sample was balanced to include variations in BMI, smokers, alcoholic beverage consumers, in addition to people with different diets and with previous illnesses.
The group also included both whites and blacks—among the general population, black adults have a higher mortality rate. However, the researchers say that, in the study, the results were the same regardless of the participant’s color and gender.
The research also showed that there is no link between increased mortality and increased steps per minute, a hypothesis already raised by experts believed to be true.
For Celso Amadeo, physician and president of the SBC (Brazilian Society of Cardiology), this discovery makes sense.
He says that, for each person, the ideal is to use between 40% and 50% of cardiovascular capacity. Since walking is a low-intensity exercise, even if one takes many steps per minute, it would be very difficult to exceed this limit.
Based on another study, the scientists also looked at whether in the case of older people, the number of minimum steps per day to obtain health benefits might be lower.
In this case, Amadeo mentions a survey conducted in the state of California, also in the United States, which reached the conclusion that an average of 4,500 steps per day for the elderly population would be enough to reduce health risks.
In addition to being one of the simplest activities to combat sedentary lifestyles, walking brings benefits to other areas of health, says Amadeo. “From a psychological point of view, walking reduces stress and anxiety. Also those who walk [regularmente], when you eat, think about the quantity and quality of foods that can benefit cardiovascular health”.