Everyone has heard that to maintain health, you need to walk 10,000 steps a day. This is a lot, and many want to reduce travel time for health. It turns out that this is possible, scientists have proven that walking speed is no less important than the number of steps. And also that for a decent result, you can go a shorter distance, but at a faster pace.

The scale is impressive and reassuring

The most extensive scientific research on this topic was simultaneously published in two journals of the American Medical Association (AMA) – JAMA Internal Medicine and JAMA Neurology. Over the course of seven years, they observed 78.5 thousand adults using fitness trackers.

Prior to this, the assessment was carried out simply by answering questions – the participants were taken at their word. And here all the information was collected from trackers, and it turned out to be more objective. Participants ranged in age from 40 to 79 and were healthy at the start of the study.

Confirmed the old and opened the new

First, researchers from the University of Sydney (Australia) and the University of Southern Denmark (Denmark) confirmed an already known fact – a decrease in the risk of dementia, heart disease, cancer and death is associated with walking 10,000 steps a day. But they also found something new: a faster pace of walking showed advantages over just the number of steps taken.

It is important that in previous studies the issue of walking speed was not actively raised. It was more difficult to evaluate it objectively during the survey, and the trackers made it possible to do this with high accuracy. And in principle, the number of 10 thousand steps was considered more important than the pace of walking – you could just walk.

“An important finding from the study is that, to protect health, people can aim not only for the daily ideal of 10,000 steps, but also try to walk faster,” says a doctor and researcher at the University of Sydney. Matthew Ahmadi. And his colleague, assistant professor Borja del Poso Cruz from the University of Southern Denmark, is reassuring to those who cannot afford such long sessions: “Our study also shows that just 3,800 steps a day can reduce the risk of dementia by 25%.”

The most important finds

Here are the key points of scientific work:

– every 2,000 steps gradually reduced the risk of premature death by 8-11%, as they reached 10,000 steps per day;

— similar results have been demonstrated for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer;

More steps per day was associated with a lower risk of all types of dementia.

– 9800 steps was the optimal dose associated with a 50% reduction in the risk of dementia, but the risk was already reduced at 3800 steps per day – by 25%;

– in addition to the total number of steps taken, the pace of walking played a positive role – the faster a person walked, the lower the risks of developing dementia, heart disease, cancer and death.

There are no doubts about the effectiveness

“The scale of these studies using wrist fitness trackers makes them the most reliable evidence to date showing that 10,000 steps a day is the best goal for health benefits, and faster walking is associated with additional benefits,” concludes his research by Dr. Matthew Ahmadi.

But on the other hand, if this ideal standard cannot be met, you can walk less, for example, 4-5 thousand steps. The benefits will still be tangible.