We all must have at least once heard or been told that 10,000 steps a day are a must for a healthy lifestyle.
For many of us, this number seems intimidating; however, according to new data, the 10,000-step rule is not based on any research but is rather just a popular phrase.
So how many steps should you take to lead a healthy life?
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, there is no set amount of steps that should be adopted to lead a healthy life. Any step that you take is good for you.
The study said that people who walked 8,000 steps a day or more significantly reduced their risk of death, but there were also many benefits for people who walked less.
People who walked 2,600 or 2,800 steps a day reaped many benefits, including increased longevity and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
So what should you aim for?
The crux of the study is that steps are good, no matter how many you take.
For starters, you should aim for over 2,500 steps a day and build from there with the help of a fitness tracker or an app on your phone.
“The more steps you take, the better,” said Francisco Ortega, the lead researcher for the study.
“There is no excessive number of steps that have been proven to be harmful to health. Reaching 7,000 to 9,000 steps a day is a sensible health goal for most people.”
Does walking pace matter?
According to Dr Cheng-Han Chen, cardiologist and medical director of the Structural Heart Programme at Saddleback Medical Centre, “Try to walk at a pace where you can feel your heart rate going up a little bit. I do say that a higher pace is more helpful than a slower pace.”