For folks old enough to know the lyrics to The Proclaimers “I’m Gonna Be,” recent findings published in JAMA Network Open may be of particular relevance. Relax. You won’t have to walk 500 miles. Just start with 7,000 steps a day.
Why 7,000 steps? Because walking 7,000 steps per day may keep you from dying prematurely. A study that followed over 2,000 black and white adults (38-50 years old) for approximately 11 years found that those who walked at least 7,000 steps per day had a 70% decreased risk of dying compared to those who walked less than 7,000 steps daily.
No kidding. Dying of what? This study only looked at all-cause mortality, meaning the findings do not break down death by specific causes such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, or, crush injury by elephant.
Why do the findings matter? The average American walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day. The often mentioned goal of walking 10,000 steps may seem like an impossible feat for sedentary individuals. The findings demonstrate that folks who are not very active have a lot to gain by walking more. A walking plan that gradually works up toward 7,000 steps daily may be less daunting.
The bottom line: Walking is good for your health. Go out and aim for at least 7,000 steps a day.