There are few things I like more than loading up a good podcast and going for a walk. Not only does it make me feel revived and happy, at peace with myself, it also gives me the opportunity to be all smug and superior and boy do I love that. Because I'm reaching those fabled 10,000 steps I'm meant to be walking every day to keep me alive until I'm super old — great for me! Although maybe I shouldn't be as smug as is my wont, because according to a new study about whether or not you should walk 10,000 steps per day, I could maybe cut out a little early. I guess I'm not better than everyone, that's a real shame.
A new study performed by Brigham and Women's Hospital Researchers looked at the correlation between 10,000 steps per day and longevity, particularly in older women, like I hope to one day be. Now that we've all got the 10,000 steps goal programmed into our Fit Bits and apps on our phones and such, it looks like we could do a little reprogramming if the goal is simply staying healthy on the planet for longer (which I'm sure it probably is for most people).
According to the new study, which was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on May 29, women who want to live longer can go ahead and dial it back to around 7,500 for the same results.
Researchers lead by study author I-Min Lee, a professor from the Harvard School of Medicine, followed more than 16,000 women with a median age of 72 years old. What the researchers found was that women who walked more definitely appeared to live longer, but the mortality rate benefit appeared to level off around the 7,500 step mark.
As Lee explained to media outlet WBUR, "The main take-home message is that even a small amount of physical activity can significantly benefit your health. In this study, we found that stepping a very modest amount — 4,400 steps a day — significantly lowered mortality rates compared with stepping, say, 2,700 steps a day."
If more steps mean a longer life, mothers of toddlers should do just fine. While the average American adult clocks around 5,000 to 7,000 steps in a day, as Very Well Fit notes, the average toddler gets in about 2.6 miles per day, according to the Daily Mail. So if you happen to be the mom chasing a toddler around, I guess you're going to live forever.
Professor Lee noted that this study was looking specifically about the step count in relation to longevity, according to UPI, as opposed to overall health and quality of life. Obviously the more you walk chances are you will improve your cardiovascular health, sleep better, and just feel a bit more better in general.
But it's nice to know that simply adding a few thousand steps can make a more significant difference, even if you can't quite make it to that 10,000 step goal. Now if you could just get your toddler...