Walking at least 4400 steps daily might help improve survival in older women, a JAMA Internal Medicine study suggests — welcome news for people who do not hit the much-promoted goal of 10000 steps daily.
Nearly 17000 older women wore a hip accelerometer for 7 days to collect step counts. Participants were then divided into quartiles based on the median number of daily steps: 2700, 4400, 5900, and 8400.
During roughly 4 years’ follow-up, 3% of the women died. After adjustment for confounders like age, smoking, and comorbid conditions, women in the three higher quartiles of daily steps had significantly lower mortality risks — reductions of 46%, 53%, and 66%, respectively — than those in the lowest quartile. Mortality declined with increasing steps until roughly 7500 steps per day, at which point the benefit levelled off.
The researchers conclude, “These findings may serve as encouragement to the many sedentary individuals for whom 10000 steps/day pose an unattainable goal.”