8,200: A Number That May Enhance Your Quality of Life
It used to be 10,000----I thought I was doing great and set my number at 7,000. But, now the number has been set at 8,200. Here's what the scientific community says about the number of daily steps a person should take.
When we think of exercise, walking is one of the first things that comes to mind, and one of the easiest things to do to get our bodies moving.
We can do several types of walking, depending on our activities. We can stroll or amble, have a steady walk, a brisk walk, or a power walk.
Walking, depending on how frequently and the speed at which we do it, can be an asset to good health.
For years, I'd heard that 10,000 steps per day were the "gold standard." As I became more health-conscious, I researched daily walking and found out how that number came to be, which didn't have any scientific or medical denotation to substantiate it.
With that tidbit of info on walking, I set my own number of steps, as I became older with decreased stamina, I needed a healthy compromise just for myself. So, I set my daily steps at 7,000.
However, I read an article about a study that found, "Walking 8,200 steps a day may lower your risk of chronic disease." But, our walk can't just be a stroll/amble or steady walk, we must add speed and intensity to our walk to make it count towards cutting our chronic-disease risk.
What was quite revealing in the study, was the number of chronic diseases that walking could potentially reduce. They include:
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
major depressive disorder (MDD)
"The study also found that walking even more steps continues to increase walking’s benefits for nearly every health condition studied."
The study’s senior investigator, Dr. Evan L. Brittain, associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt, told Medical News Today: “For most conditions, higher was better..."
Physical activity epidemiologist and kinesiologist Amanda Paluch, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, not involved in the study, explained to MNT:
“Physical activity such as walking works on multiple mechanisms, affecting nearly every cell in the body to benefit our health.”
“Benefits [include] promoting stronger bones and muscles, weight management, reducing chronic inflammation, lower stress levels, and improving the strength and efficiency of our heart and blood vessels. These benefits of walking result in a lower risk of chronic diseases, like cardiovascular disease and cancer, and enable us to live healthier for longer.” Intensity of your step count matters “The more often you get your heart pumping at a brisk pace, the better,” per Dr. Cutler.
Why walking is good for you Dr. Cutler said that walking improves cardiovascular health and decreases sedentary habits. “Another benefit of walking is improved bone health,” he added. “When we walk, ideally at a brisk pace and with some added weights, we are breaking down old bone, which in turn activates the formation of new bone cell turnover. This is ultimately very beneficial at decreasing the risk of osteoporosis, which most commonly affects postmenopausal women.”
Dr. Paluch noted that walking is a great activity that’s accessible to many people. “You don’t need additional equipment, and you can fit it into your daily lives on a busy day versus finding the hour to make it to the gym,” Dr. Paluch said. “The current public health guidelines recommend 2 days per week of strength training in addition to 150 to 300 minutes per week of aerobic activity like walking. Strength training can be as simple as 20 minutes of body weight exercises such as push-ups, lunges, and planks.” – Amanda Paluch, Ph.D., physical activity epidemiologist and kinesiologist.
For now, forget about the numbers. Just get started.
Keep in mind my mantra: In the beginning, it was a chore, then it became a habit, and now it has become a lifestyle.
Now, get to walkin'.