An international study led by the University of Granada has identified for the first time the optimal number of steps at which most people obtain the greatest benefits, and also shows that the pace at which walking provides additional benefits.
The idea that one should take 10,000 steps a day originated in Japan in the 1960s, but had no scientific basis. Researchers have now shown that, if we focus on the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, most of the benefits are seen at around 7,000 steps.
The study led by the University of Granada (UGR) has provided the first scientific proof of how many steps need to be taken per day to significantly reduce the risk of premature death: 8,000. Given the average length of a human stride (76 centimeters for men and 67 centimeters for women), taking 8,000 steps is equivalent to walking approximately 6.4 kilometers a day.
Researchers have also shown that the pace at which we walk has additional benefits, and that it is better to walk fast than slow. With regard to the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, most of the benefits are seen at around 7,000 steps.
The study, published this week in one of the world’s leading cardiology journals, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, identifies for the first time the optimal number of steps at which most people obtain the greatest benefits, and also shows that the pace at which you walk provides additional benefits.
The research was carried out in collaboration between researchers from the Netherlands – the Radboud University Medical Center, Spain – Universities of Granada and Castilla-La Mancha, and the United States – Iowa State University.
“Traditionally, many people thought that you had to reach about 10,000 steps a day to obtain health benefits, an idea that came out of Japan in the 1960s but had no basis in science,” explains the lead author of the study, Mr. Francisco B. Ortega, a professor at the UGR’s Department of Physical Education and Sports.