Step it Up: Daily Stroll Could Offset Risks of Sedentary Life

In a major study involving over 72,000 people, researchers from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre have uncovered a simple yet powerful way to counteract the health consequences of too much sitting each day – increase your step count.

The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that every additional step up to around 10,000 steps a day was linked to reduced risk of death (39 percent) and cardiovascular disease (21 percent), regardless of how much remaining time was spent sedentary.

“This is by no means a get out of jail card for people who are sedentary for excessive periods of time, however, it does hold an important public health message that all movement matters and that people can and should try to offset the health consequences of unavoidable sedentary time by upping their daily step count,” said lead author and research fellow, Dr. Matthew Ahmadi.

Previous studies have established links between greater daily step counts and lower levels of death and cardiovascular disease (CVD), as well as high levels of sedentary behavior and increased risks of CVD and death. However, this is the first study to objectively measure, via wrist-worn wearables, if daily steps could offset the health risks of high sedentary behavior.

Senior author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, Director of the Mackenzie Wearables Research Hub at the Charles Perkins Centre, highlighted the significance of this research for public health, saying, “Step count is a tangible and easily understood measure of physical activity that can help people in the community, and indeed health professionals, accurately monitor physical activity.”

The study found that the optimal number of steps per day to counteract high sedentary time was between 9,000 to 10,000 steps, which lowered mortality risk by 39 percent and incident CVD risk by 21 percent. Notably, 50 percent of the benefit was achieved at between 4,000 and 4,500 steps a day.

While the observational nature of the study cannot establish direct cause and effect, the researchers conclude that “any amount of daily steps above the referent 2,200 steps/day was associated with lower mortality and incident CVD risk, for low and high sedentary time.”

#PhysicalActivity #SedentaryLifestyle #StepCount #PublicHealth

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