Sport is quite important for our health and for a long life. To benefit from it you really have to break a sweat. Just a little walking is not enough, is it? Possibly it really is! In this blogpost you will learn why every step counts when it comes to add some more years on the biological clock.
This study was conducted between 2000 and 2005 with more than 2,500 Australians aged about 60 years. For this purpose the participants were wearing pedometers for two to seven days, with which the researchers were able to determine the exact amount of steps they walked. Furthermore, participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire about their physical activity and sports behavior.
After a couple of years they were asked again to wear pedometers and fill in the questionnaire. In doing so the researchers could find changes in the participants’ activity behavior. The researchers also registered all deaths in the upcoming ten years within the study group. Their major research question was to examine the influence of participants’ step counts on their mortality rate in the following years.
The more you walk, the longer you live
Participants who walked quite a lot in the beginning of the study indeed showed a lower mortality rate compared to those walking a lot less. But even an increase in step counts from the first to second assessment had positive effects on the life expectancy.
One of the remarkable results of this study was a decrease in mortality rate of as much as 46 percent in participants who increased their step counts from under 1,000 steps per day to 10,000 steps per day. Of course, this is a huge increase and reflects a change from a sedentary to an active lifestyle.
But even smaller increases are paying off. For instance, the researchers also found a decreased mortality rate of 12% in participants changing from a sedentary lifestyle (under 1,000 steps per day) to at least 3,000 steps per day on five days per week.
At least 3,000 steps on five days per week – that is a practical goal, even for persons of older ages. And above all: it really pays off. Altogether, this study makes clear that each step counts for prolonging life expectancy significantly even into old age.
By bringing more physical activity into our everyday life, for example by simple walking, we can improve our health at all ages and add our life a few more years. To count your steps you do not necessarily need a fitness tracker. With a suitable app you can use almost every smartphone for that J
Dwyer, T., Pezic, A., Sun, C., Cochrane, J., Venn, A., Srikanth, V., Jones, G., Shook, R., Sui, X., Ortaglia, A., Blair, S., & Ponsonby, A.-L. (2015). Objectively Measured Daily Steps and Subsequent Long Term All-Cause Mortality: The Tasped Prospective Cohort Study. PLoS ONE, 10(11): e0141274.
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