Daily Steps

Why are daily steps important?

Daily steps are a crucial measure of physical activity, with significant implications for overall health. Regular walking and other forms of movement are associated with numerous benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, weight management, mental well-being, diabetes prevention, and enhanced bone and joint health. For instance, walking helps reduce the risk of heart disease by improving circulation and lowering blood pressure, aids in maintaining a healthy weight, and has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. {{{Ghodeshwar GK, Dube A, Khobragade D. Impact of Lifestyle Modifications on Cardiovascular Health: A Narrative Review. Cureus. 2023;15(7):e42616. Published 2023 Jul 28. doi:10.7759/cureus.42616}}}

While the widely recommended goal of 10,000 steps per day is popular, recent research suggests that fewer steps can still provide substantial health benefits. Studies indicate that even 4,000-5,000 steps daily can lead to improved cardiovascular health and reduced mortality risk, with benefits increasing up to about 7,500 steps per day. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that older women who took 4,400 steps per day had significantly lower mortality rates compared to those who took fewer steps, with benefits increasing up to about 7,500 steps per day. {{{Lee I, Shiroma EJ, Kamada M, Bassett DR, Matthews CE, Buring JE. Association of Step Volume and Intensity With All-Cause Mortality in Older Women. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(8):1105–1112. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.0899}}}

Incorporating more steps into your daily routine can be done in creative and unique ways beyond just going for a walk. For example, you can engage in "deskercise" by incorporating walking or marching in place during work breaks, or by dancing to music to make movement fun and engaging. Active commuting, such as walking or biking to work or school, can also help increase your step count. Other ideas include doing household chores like vacuuming, gardening, and washing the car, taking phone calls or meetings while walking, choosing parking spots further from entrances, using stairs instead of elevators, suggesting walking meetings, exploring new walking routes, and playing with pets or children.

Wearable health trackers like Fitbit, Apple Watch, and Garmin devices have revolutionized how we monitor daily activity. These devices provide real-time data on step count, distance traveled, and calories burned, and allow for personalized goal setting to motivate and track progress. They also offer additional health metrics such as heart rate, sleep quality, and activity intensity, and often include social features for sharing progress and engaging in challenges.

Where can I learn more?