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Just 7,000 steps a day may be enough for good heart health

Photo: Jennifer Yario

Amherst, MA — Can’t get to 10,000 steps a day? Aim for 7,000 to help curb your risk of heart disease and early death, say researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The researchers used data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study, in which more than 2,100 participants between the ages of 38 and 50 wore an accelerometer from 2005 to 2006 and were followed for about 11 years.

The researchers placed each participant into one of three groups based on their average daily steps: high (10,000-plus), moderate (7,000-9,999) and low (fewer than 7,000).

The moderate step group experienced “substantial health benefits,” Amanda Paluch, study author and a physical activity epidemiologist, said in a press release, adding that the team didn’t see an additional benefit from going beyond 10,000 steps. In addition, walking intensity showed no link to mortality.


“You see this gradual risk reduction in mortality as you get more steps,” Paluch continued. “For people at 4,000 steps, getting to 5,000 is meaningful. And from 5,000 to 6,000 steps, there is an incremental risk reduction in all-cause mortality up to about 10,000 steps.

“Preventing those deaths before average life expectancy – that is a big deal. Showing that steps per day could be associated with premature mortality is a new contribution to the field.”

The study was published online Sept. 3 in JAMA Network Open.

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