To Your Health
August, 2020 (Vol. 14, Issue 08)
Step Your Way to a Longer Life
By Editorial Staff
Longevity – the ability to outlive the typical lifespan – sometimes appears to be a matter of good fortune. But look closely and you'll often recognize the lifestyle behaviors that contributed to it.
For example, people who exercise consistently often outlive people who generally don't exercise. But it's even more simple than that, according to new study findings: People who walk more than others are more likely to outlive them.
Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study evaluated daily step count and intensity among nearly 5,000 U.S. adults (average age at the start of the study: 56 years). Study participants wore an accelerometer, which count steps, for up to seven days, and researchers then tracked each subject for more than a decade to determine the state of their health (including whether they had died of any cause) over that time period.
Compared with people who only took 4,000 steps per day, those who took 8,000 steps daily were significantly less likely to die during the tracking period. People who took 12,000 steps per day were even more likely to stay alive. Interestingly, step intensity did not appear to influence mortality; in other words, while number of steps mattered (exercise), how quickly / vigorously you walked (exercise intensity) wasn't a factor.
The moral to the story is clear: Get moving! Walking doesn't require a gym or any exercise equipment whatsoever (except for a good pair of shoes). In the current COVID-19 climate, finding simple easily achievable ways to ensure daily physical activity is even more important. Taking a few more steps every day – and then a few more – is a great place to start.