10,000 step challenge daily is not ideal: University of Sydney study

“It was the point where you have the lowest risk,” explains Ding, pointing out that we reap the benefits, whether the steps accumulate during the day – work in the garden, walk to and from the bus stop, take stairs at work – or in one session where separate research suggests that there are several health benefits when we push the pace up a bit.


When we walk 7,500 steps a day – which takes about an hour or less and equates to about 5-6 kilometers – our chance of dying from any cause over the next two years is about 40 percent less.

“The risk continues to go down to about 11,000 steps … where you halve the risk of dying over the next year or two.”

Why, if the risk at 11000 steps is lower, is 7500 considered “ideal”? Because the relationship is not linear, Ding explains.

Between 0 and 7500 steps, the risk reduction was sharp (8.5 percent average risk reduction for every 1000 steps / day). After 7500, the step-by-step improvement begins to be marginal (2% average risk reduction for every 1000 steps / day). So 7500 seems to be the ‘turning point’ where the shape of the relationship is changing. “

She adds that not enough people in the studies they looked at took more than 11,000 steps, so they were unable to say whether the benefits continued beyond that point.

Walking is not only free and can be done without exercise equipment, its many health benefits include reducing our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression.

“It has anti-inflammatory benefits, reduces cancer risk, improves physical function and prevents falls,” says Ding. “Physical activity also promotes better mental health, prevents cognitive decline. These benefits still apply to step counts, but few studies have teased this.”

Tony Blazevich is Director of the Center for Exercise and Sports Science Research at Edith Cowan University. He says the newspaper is a good reminder that moving from a low level of physical activity to a moderate level gives “a massive boost” to our health and longevity: “So if you do not move much, or are unfit, you can make sure to get a huge benefit by doing a little more than you are currently doing. “

He adds: “We should be aware that scientists only looked at mortality, but our health and our ability to live a happy, independent and active life until mortality is also really important to us.”


For this, walking is only part of a “physical activity diet” that includes slow and relaxing exercises, those that make our heart rate pump and those we enjoy doing for fun.

What the new research is doing is dispelling the myth that we need to go 10,000 a day to get the most benefits.

“Everyone is so hooked on the idea,” Ding says. “Of course it would be great if people took 10,000 steps, but it’s not necessarily something where we have to think that unless we get 10,000, we get no benefits.

“For some people who may be out of reach and if they’re actually thinking if I get up off the couch and do something, it’s still in my favor. Ten thousand should not be the obstacle holding you back. . ”

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