Do you strive for up to 10,000 steps a day?

Guess what: Walking slowly vs. quickly really DOES make a difference in health! A step is not a step is not a step.

All steps were NOT created equal. Fast walking is superior to slow walking.

Not only does this make a lot of sense, on an intuitive or common sense level, but yet another study demonstrates this.

Papers in the JAMA Internal Medicine and JAMA Neurology report the results of a study in which 78,500 adults’ steps were monitored with wearable trackers.

It should be no surprise that a lowered risk of heart disease, cancer and premature death was associated with getting in 10,000 steps a day.

But the researchers, from the University of Sydney, Australia and University of Southern Denmark, also recommend picking up the pace of those steps – if not all of them, then a good portion of them, whenever possible.

Step Count and Health Associations

  • Every 2,000 steps per day lowered the risk of premature death, cardiovascular disease and cancer incrementally by 8-11 percent, up to 10,000 steps/day.
  • A faster walk revealed beneficial associations — as far as a lower risk — for cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia and premature death.

It’s important to note that only those participants who were minus heart disease, cancer or dementia at the start of the study, and also free of these conditions in its first two years, were included in the final evaluation.

There is not a direct cause and effect on steps and better health, but we also can’t ignore even just an association – such as for every 2,000 more steps per day, there was that 8-11 percent drop in risk of several medical conditions.

How to Insert More Steps, and Faster Ones, in Your Day

• Ever try standing while watching TV? I often do this, and it was very easy to get used to.

But I don’t just stand still. I walk forward and back, sometimes from side to side.

• Buy a treadmill, and throughout the day, get on it for several minutes of fast walking.

Even if you don’t feel like going at a good clip, any accumulated steps will count towards a lower risk of disease and premature death.

• Get a treadmill desk for home computer use. You may be sitting way more than you realize while at the computer perusing through news sites, using Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

• When using your phone, pace as much as possible. This is quite easy to do during conversations.

• When walking about at work, go at a brisk pace.

• Walk briskly in parking lots, even if you’re carrying groceries or pushing a cart.

• Walk your dog more often, for longer and for faster.

10 Reasons Never to Hold onto the Treadmill

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 


Top image: ©Lorra Garrick