In the past few weeks there’s been articles written with titles ranging from the dismissive “You Don’t Need To Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day” to the more subtle “Do You Really Need 10,000 Steps Per Day?”. These headlines are based on a new study that did not look at groups walking 10,000+ steps per day.
Let’s take a closer look
- Women with an average age of 72 wore a research step counter (accelerometer) for a week.
- They divided the women into 4 groups based on
how much they moved on average:
- (A) 2700 steps per day
- (B) 4400 steps per day
- (C) 6000 steps per day
- (D) 8400 steps per day
- They followed the women for about 4 years to see who died and calculated something called a “hazard ratio (HR)”.
Quick explanation of hazard ratio (HR): if a new drug is being studied and people taking this drug die twice as often as those not taking that drug during the trial, then the hazard ratio would be 2. 2 means it’s twice as hazardous as nothing (and hopefully that drug won’t get approved!). The opposite would be .5, which means you are half as likely to die if you take a drug, or whatever you are studying. Here’s a if you need more on HR.
- This is how the different groups did at the end
in terms of HR:
- (A) 1.0 (they were the baseline)
- (B) .59
- (C) .52
- (D) .42
Really the takeaway from this is common sense: the more you move the better, and that even going from 2,700 steps per day to 4,400 steps per day is a good thing. Also, moving more than 4,400 steps per day is even better.
Bottom line: Good intentions blown off course
I think that the authors wanted to get people focused on attainable goals. This is a good thing! If you only get 2,000 steps per day then thinking you’ve got to get to 10,000 or you’re a failure is going to be demoralizing.
I believe they wanted to show that even a small increase (such as going from 2,700 to 4,400) is going to pay off. I wish they had stopped there vs. overplaying their hand and trying to make it seem like this all that people need to do and that doing more (of anything) is pointless and/or a waste of time.
More On Step Counts:
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