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Scientists determine the optimal number of daily steps for longevity!

Amman Today

publish date 2022-03-05 14:47:45

Conventional wisdom makes us believe that the journey to a long, healthy life begins with 10,000 steps each day.

And for those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle, it’s a goal that can take some effort to maintain. And we also knew for some time that it was definitely wrong.

By analyzing data on tens of thousands of people across four continents that were combined between 15 existing studies, a team of researchers has now come up with a more comfortable number: the optimal number might be closer to 6,000 steps per day, depending on your age.

“So, what we saw was this gradual decrease in risk as steps increased, until they stopped,” says Amanda Baloch, an epidemiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Evolution has honed our physiology to walk long distances, releasing heat with ease as we move back and forth like inverted pendulums across landscapes in search of food and water.

This means that our metabolism, cardiovascular fitness, the effect on our bones and muscles, and even our mental health are all set to appreciate a good walk. The stress of any kind of hiking in our busy schedule will serve us well by helping us live longer, healthier, and happier lives. This is easier said than done to those who are stressed out by time or lack motivation, which is why tech companies have created small devices that help us keep track of the number of steps we take each day.

Half a century ago, Japan’s Yamasa Clock and Instrument Corporation sought to capitalize on the fanfare of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics by producing a pedometer they called “Manpo-kei” – a word that translates to 10,000 steps.

But getting that number right can make the difference between encouraging everyone to get enough exercise and keeping people out of trying altogether.

Last year, Baloch and her team published research based on a group of more than 2,000 middle-aged individuals living across the United States. They found that taking at least 7,000 steps a day reduced the chances of an early death by 50 to 70 percent.

And these words “at least” do some challenging tasks. With questions remaining about whether more is better, and whether pressing all these steps faster is in any way beneficial, the research team expanded their network to include previously published research.

The most recent meta-analysis included information collected on the health of 47,471 adults from Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. They found that the 25% of adults who took more steps each day had a 40 to 53% lower chance of dying, compared to those in the lowest 25% of the number of steps.

For adults age 60 and older, this low risk is about 6,000 to 8,000 steps per day. Moving forward may have other benefits, but reducing the chance of death is not one of them.

The study found that younger people could walk a little more, but there was no evidence that they would necessarily live longer by walking more than 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day.

“The main takeaway is that there is a lot of evidence to suggest that moving a little more is beneficial, especially for those who do very little activity,” Baloch says.

Half an hour of intense activity each day can be a big boost for those who sit a lot. Throwing in some strength training in old age can help keep our brains strong and keep our hearts and bones healthy.

Source: Science Alert

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