The Relationship Between Walking and Longevity Of Life

Daily step count and life duration

It has long been said that regular exercise is beneficial for a healthy and long life. But the concept of regular exercise is not very clear. Instead, it is generally accepted that daily walking is a more practical and easy exercise method. However, when it comes to walking, there is not enough explanatory information on its speed, distance and difficulty level (for example, uphill).

10,000 steps a day

We said that the easiest exercise is walking. However, the number of steps taken per day was not well defined. The general belief was that it was necessary to take at least 10,000 steps a day. However, a study published by I-Min Lee et al. on May 29, 2019 in the journal “JAMA Internal Medicine” is a game changer. According to the authors, the 10,000 steps per day event probably started like this: In 1965, the Japanese firm “Yamasa Clock and Instrument Company” introduced a step counter device. The trade name of this device was “Manpo-kei”. Its Japanese translation was “10,000 Pedometer”. In other words, this concept had nothing but a commercial name given to a product by a company. For some reason, these 10,000 steps have been accepted as the minimum amount to be taken per day without much thought.

Planned research

It was performed on approximately 18,000 women aged 62 to 101 with an average age of 72 years. The average number of steps the women took per day was recorded regularly with a sensitive pedometer, and then these women were followed to record how many of them died and after how long.

Questions to be answered

Two main questions were tried to be answered in the study

  1. What is the number of steps per day to cause a less death rate in those individuals?
  2. Is there a relationship between the speed of steps (number per minute) and death?

Results achieved

The women participating in the study were followed for an average of 4.5 years. During the study, 504 women died. They are grouped according to the time of death. The 25% group that died in the shortest time was examined. It was observed that 275 women in this group took very few steps per day (average of 2,700 steps). Those who took slightly more steps (average of 4,400 steps) had a 41% reduction in mortality. Mortality continued to decrease as the number of steps increased, but there was no significant change after 7,500 steps per day. At the same time, the speed of the steps, that is, the slow or fast walking of the person, was also investigated. As a result, it was seen that completing the same number of steps quickly or slowly did not affect the death rate.

Application to daily life

Various studies have been continuing for a long time on the subject that active life prolongs lifespan. In our time, the number of daily steps is taken by many as a measure of active life. However, there is no numerical value revealed in this regard. Even if the myth of 10,000 steps a day is accepted in youth, it is a difficult task to fulfill in old age. For an average person, 10,000 steps correspond to a distance of approximately 8 km. It takes one hour and 40 minutes to cover this distance with a normal walk. Not everyone can spend close to two hours for a walk. The latest scientific study has shown that even fewer daily steps (4,400) significantly extend lifespan compared to more sedentary people. As the number of steps increased, the prolongation in life continued up to one number, but it was revealed that this prolongation was also limited and did not change after 7,500 steps per day. Those who do not like to walk or do sports do not need to worry. In addition, the frequency of the steps did not change as expected. Completing the same stride (or distance) faster or longer did not affect life. You can do your walks with slow steps without tiring yourself.