Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have reported that the optimum number of steps to aim for really depends on a person's age and health.
People are often advised to aim to take 10,000 steps per day to maintain wellbeing.
But following a meta-analysis of 15 studies involving nearly 50,000 adults, researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have reported that the optimum number of steps to aim for really depends on the person's age and health.
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For those aged 60 and older, the risk of premature death levelled off at about 6,000-8,000 steps per day, meaning that more steps than that provided no additional benefit for longevity. Those younger than 60 saw the risk of premature death stabilise at about 8,000-10,000 steps per day.
"So, what we saw was this incremental reduction in risk as steps increase, until it levels off," physical activity epidemiologist Amanda Paluch commented. "And the levelling occurred at different step values for older versus younger adults."
In addition, the researchers discovered that there was no definitive association with walking speed, beyond the total number of steps per day.
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"The major takeaway is there's a lot of evidence suggesting that moving even a little more is beneficial, particularly for those who are doing very little activity," she continued. "More steps per day are better for your health. And the benefit in terms of mortality risk levels off around 6,000 to 8,000 for older adults and 8,000 to 10,000 for younger adults."
Full study results have been published in ‘The Lancet Public Health’.