Steps to Living Longer

Those who take more steps each day may live longer lives

(RxWiki News) Want to live longer? Taking more steps could help.

That's the key finding of a new study of the physical activity levels of older women in the US.

Regardless of whether they took steps in short bursts or long walks, women who took more steps each day lived longer on average than those who took fewer steps, this study found.

This finding could be good news for people who face barriers to intense daily exercise, the study authors said.

“Older adults face many barriers to participating in structured exercise programs, so some may find it more convenient and enjoyable to increase everyday walking behaviors, like parking slightly further from their destination or doing some extra housework or yardwork,” said lead study author Christopher C. Moore, MS, a PhD student in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in a press release.

This study looked at 16,732 women over an eight-year period. Participants wore an electronic step counter to count their daily steps. The women had an average age of 72.

During the study period, 804 of the participants died. But women who took more steps in long bouts or short spurts of walking tended to live longer than those who took fewer steps. Overall, the apparent benefits of more daily steps appeared to level off after 4,500 steps daily, according to the study.

Compared to women who took no steps each day, those who took more than 2,000 steps were 32 percent less likely to die during the study period. Each additional 1,000 steps participants took was linked to a 28 percent lower risk of death during the study.

This research focused primarily on older white women, so these results may not apply to other groups in the same way, the study authors noted. They called for further research on this topic.

Exercise is generally safe and healthy, but for some people, certain types of exercise can pose risks. Talk to your health care provider before making any major changes to your exercise routine.

This research was presented at the American Heart Association Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Conference. Research presented at conferences may not yet have undergone peer review.

Information on study funding sources and potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

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Review Date: 
May 31, 2021