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How many steps do you need to take per day to stay healthy?


It’s an example of a kind of marketing notion that became ultra commonplace — the idea that each person should take 10,000 steps a day to stay healthy. Although widely believed and bandied about, this figure isn’t exactly what the authorities in the matter prescribe.

The World Health Organization prefers to recommend the amount of time spent doing physical activity on a weekly basis, namely between two and a half and five hours of moderate endurance, for people aged 18 to 64 years.

“The number of steps acquired per day is a simple measure of physical activity,” say the researchers who studied the subject. Their results are published in the journal The Lancet Public Health.

To carry out their research, the scientists analyzed the results of 15 studies, carried out throughout the world, specifying the effects of walking on health. In this meta-analysis, 47,000 participants were divided into four categories. Those who walked 3,500 steps per day, those who walked 5,800 steps per day, those who walked 7,800 steps and the last category who counted 10,900 steps per day.

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The results? Up to age 60, walking between 8,000 and 10,000 steps per day is associated with “a progressively decreasing risk of mortality.” For people over 60, 6,000 to 8,000 steps are sufficient. To feel the effects, you don’t need to walk at a very quick pace.

The researchers point out that physical activity can help fight chronic diseases as well as type two diabetes, cardiovascular disease and several cancers. “Monitoring daily steps is more feasible than ever for the general public as fitness trackers and mobile devices have become increasingly popular,” the researchers add. JB


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