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Study Reveals New 'Magic Number' of Daily Steps You Need for a Longer Life

The daily step goal for longevity is less than you'd think.

The number of steps you take daily may vary depending on the time of the week, what you have planned, or how you're feeling. Some mornings, you may kickstart the day with a brisk walk around your neighborhood or feel especially motivated to hit the trails for a long stroll with your pup. On other days, you may use your walking pad while taking work calls or tuning into virtual meetings. Whatever the case may be, if a regular walking habit is something you strive to achieve, you're likely wondering how you can maximize the benefits that come with an invigorating walk. Well, a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology pinpoints how many steps to take every day to live longer, and the number is certainly achievable! Read on to learn more, and when you're finished, be sure to check out This Is the New 'Magic Number' of Days You Need to Exercise To See Results, Study Says.

Here's how many steps you need to take every day to live longer.

close-up sneakers, female walker

When speaking about various healthy habits to promote a long, healthy existence, it should come as no surprise that regular exercise is at the top of the list. There are copious amounts of research that link lifelong exercise to an extended health span, helping to put off 40 chronic health issues/diseases. Some of these conditions include breast cancer, hypertension, insulin resistance, obesity, osteoporosis, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Despite the amazing benefits associated with regular physical activity, stats from 2022 reveal that only around 21% of men and roughly 19% of women in the United States engage in exercise, sports, and recreational activities every day.

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To incentivize you to boost your daily movement—without pushing yourself too hard!—a new study discovered the ideal amount of steps that offer the most benefits, along with the optimal walking pace. Although it certainly wouldn't be frowned upon to aim for 10,000 steps a day, you really don't need to take that many to soak up the amazing benefits that come with walking. In fact, a recent study discovered that 8,000 steps is the new magic number of daily steps to extend your life.

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The research:

The research, which was spearheaded by the University of Granada, performed a systematic review of literature and a meta-analysis of data across 12 international studies that examined over 110,000 participants. The findings from this study align with more recent research that shows health benefits can be reaped from less than 10,000 daily steps.

Lead author of the study, Francisco B. Ortega, a professor at the UGR's Department of Physical Education and Sports, explained, "Traditionally, many people thought that you had to reach about 10,000 steps a day to obtain health benefits—an idea that came out of Japan in the 1960s but had no basis in science." Ortega added, "We've shown for the first time that the more steps you take, the better, and that there is no excessive number of steps that has been proven to be harmful to health."

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This research offers the first scientific evidence for the number of daily steps that can substantially decrease one's risk of early mortality. The average stride length is around 30 inches for men and 26 inches for women, so walking 8,000 steps a day equates to about four miles. In addition, the research shows that walking at a faster pace, as opposed to a slower pace, is linked to a decreased risk of early death, regardless of how many steps you walk in a day.

"Our study gives people clear and easily measurable goals," noted Esmée Bakker, one of the lead study authors who's a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Granada. "The (inter)national physical activity recommendations advise adults to get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. But most people don't know what exercises count as moderate intensity, making it difficult to verify their compliance with this exercise standard. Counting steps is much simpler, especially since most people have a smartphone or smartwatch these days."

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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