As nice as it would be to hit 10,000 steps per day, a well-known (and well-intentioned) daily activity goal for optimal health, there are many days when even half that number isn’t in the cards. But that absolutely does not mean we, and our physical and mental health, are doomed to waste away! Even getting more like a few thousand steps in a day is greatly beneficial to health and longevity, a recent study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology confirms.
This meta-analysis of 17 cohort studies, including a total of 226,889 participants, looked at the associations between daily step count and both risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. The researchers knew that tons of scientific evidence has linked low or no activity—AKA being sedentary—to increased risk of heart disease, general ill health, and early death. And the inverse has also been proven: Even smaller amounts of moderate-intensity exercise, such as 10 or so minutes of walking per day, are enough to make a hugely helpful impact on health and disease risk.
The aim of this analysis was to figure out the optimal number of steps per day it takes to start lowering one’s risk for heart disease and improving chances of a longer, healthier life. The great news: It’s far fewer than 10,000.
Excerpted from Real Simple