Is 10,000 steps a day necessary for good health? Let’s look at what the research says.

Is 10,000 steps a day necessary for good health? Let’s look at what the research says.

Brittain explains that it is difficult to accurately determine a person’s typical behavior over weeks, months, or years by monitoring them for just three to seven days. While this may be true for some individuals, it is unlikely to be universally true.

The researchers conducted a study in which they provided over 100,000 adults in the U.K. with a highly accurate accelerometer to wear on their wrists 24 hours a day for a week. They analyzed data from 72,174 participants who wore the device for at least 3 days, including a weekend day, for at least 16 hours per day, even while sleeping. The participants were around 61 years old on average, and the researchers followed their cardiovascular and death outcomes for an average of seven years.

The researchers adjusted their analysis to consider various factors among participants, such as age, sex, ethnicity, educational level, lifestyle habits, family history of diseases, and medication use. This helped ensure that the outcomes were not solely influenced by physical activity levels.

While it was not possible to account for potential changes in activity levels over time, a subset of participants who wore the step counters again after two to four years showed consistent activity levels. Brittain notes that while activity levels may not have remained consistent for everyone, the overall message of the study is clear: more physical activity is beneficial, and the minimum amount needed for benefits may be lower than commonly believed. This finding can empower individuals to prioritize and increase their physical activity levels for better health outcomes.

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