Even if You Walk 10,000 Steps per Day, Are You Walking at a Sufficient Pace?


There is some good news for all of you fitness enthusiasts who make it a point to walk the recommended 10,000 steps each day. According to a recent study, the speed at which you walk also contributes to improving the outcomes. The study, which used wearable trackers to follow 78,500 participants, was published in the journals JAMA Internal Medicine and JAMA Neurology. According to a statement from http://www.sydney.edu.au, this was the largest study to objectively track step count in connection to health outcomes.

Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia and the University of Southern Denmark discovered a link between 10,000 daily steps and a decreased risk of dementia, heart disease, cancer, and death. A power walk, however, demonstrated advantages above and beyond the amount of steps completed.

The study’s co-lead author, Dr. Matthew Ahmadi, a research fellow at the Charles Perkins Centre and Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney, said, “The take-home message here is that for protective health benefits people could not only ideally aim for 10,000 steps a day but also aim to walk faster.” While step count is easily understood and widely used by the public to track activity levels with help from fitness trackers and apps, senior author Emmanuel Stamatakis, Professor of Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Population Health at the University of Sydney emphasised that “rarely do people think about the pace of their steps”.

According to the study’s co-lead author associate professor Borja del Pozo Cruz from the University of Southern Denmark and senior researcher in health at the University of Cadiz, “for less active individuals, as low as 3,800 steps a day can lower the risk of dementia by 25%.”

Over the course of seven days, participants wore wrist accelerometers to track their physical activity (minimum 3 days, including a weekend day and monitoring during sleep periods). The study is observational, the researchers point out, which means “they cannot show direct cause and effect.” Over the course of seven days, participants wore wrist accelerometers to track their physical activity (minimum 3 days, including a weekend day and monitoring during sleep periods). The study is observational, the researchers point out, which means “they cannot establish direct cause and effect.”

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  • Here are a few important findings from the research:

*Up to about 10,000 steps per day, a reduction in risk of early death of 8 to 11% was seen for every 2,000 steps.
*Similar relationships were observed for the incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
*A decreased incidence of dementia from any cause was linked to daily step counts.
*The ideal dose of 9,800 steps was associated with a 50% reduction in dementia risk, while even 3,800 steps a day resulted in a 25% reduction.
*Over and above total daily steps, stepping intensity or a faster speed revealed positive links for all outcomes (dementia, heart disease, cancer, and mortality).

However, Dr. Sanjith Saseedharan, consultant and chief of critical care at SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim-A Fortis Associate, noted that “a small limitation of this trial is the wide age limits of the participants (40 to 79 years)” and that the trial’s seven-year follow-up period. Because even the number of participants for each age group isn’t given, Dr. Saseedharan said it’s doubtful that the individuals would have reached the age at which dementia often sets in.

  • How is walking beneficial?

According to lifestyle educator and nutritionist Karishma Chawla, “optimal cardio activity helps in cardiovascular exercise, balancing blood pressure, lowering bad cholesterol, increasing good cholesterol, reducing anxiety due to release of endorphins, helping blood circulation, boosting lung health, balancing blood sugar levels, which helps to lower body fat percentage keeping the metabolism high.

While walking is a healthy exercise, Chawla said that “in order to get the most out of this cardiac activity, it is vital to challenge oneself in terms of increase in steps and speed.”

In comparison to the available data, Dr. Saseedharan claims that the study’s conclusion is “essential,” since it provides guidance for performing the advised 10,000 steps.

“Walking faster  will help to extend your range of motion and transfer pressure away from your joints and toward your muscles. The muscles in your legs and abdomen can be strengthened. The quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, hip abductors, and glutes all benefit from power walking, according to Dr. Narayan Gadkar, a consultant cardiologist at Zen Multispeciality Hospital in Chembur.

Dr. Gadkar stressed that power walking should only be done after consulting a physician. “Do it correctly, and don’t push yourself too much. The person’s ultimate goal should be to remain healthy, whether through brisk walking or completing 10k steps each day, as suggested by Dr. Gadkar.

  • To what extent should you walk?

A great win for your health, according to Dr. Nidhi Bajaj Gupta, a physiotherapy healer, holistic wellness coach, and the creator of Merahki, is to power walk for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, to meet your cardio need. According to Dr. Bajaj Gupta, when you increase your pace, you will unquestionably begin to profit from cardiovascular advantages, muscle toning, greater core strength, and increased bone density.

Varun Rattan, co-founder of The Body Science Academy in Noida, offered some interesting information, saying that “a 5’8” tall male weighing 75 kilos would burn three calories per minute at a speed of 3.2 kilometres per hour or five calories by walking at the rate of 5.6 kilometres per hour. If you walk for 30 minutes at 3.2 km/h, you’ll burn around 90 calories; if you walk at 5.6 km/h, you’ll burn about 150 calories.

  • How do you quicken your pace while you’re just starting out?

Rattan said that walking at a comfortable pace is best but that constancy is the most important aspect of starting any exercise practise, including a walking habit. “Therefore, before increasing duration or pace, your attention should be directed at taking regular walks. You will be able to walk faster or farther without exerting much additional effort when your fitness level rises, according to Rattan.

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