Cardiovascular disease: Walking 6,000+ steps daily may lower risk for older adultsFebruary 1st, 2023
Walking more helps to prevent cardiovascular disease. A recent study focused on cardiovascular disease (CVD) that appears in the Circulation journal and was originally published in December 2022 shows that people who walk between 6000-9000 steps a day will benefit from a marked reduction in risk of CVD.
Amanda Paluch, a physical activity epidemiologist and Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at the Institute for Applied Life Sciences has stated that every 1000 steps show an incremental reduction in risk of CVD.
The daily recommended steps are 10,000 but it is important to set attainable goals that are personal to you. Try to ease yourself into achieving more steps each week.
In the research conducted for this study, 4.2% of younger adults were shown to have follow up CVD events as opposed to older adults, who came in at 9.5%. It is essential younger adults still exercise for their cardiovascular health.
There are many physical benefits to being active, not least that undertaking more activity helps to offset many of the causes of CVD such as obesity, type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure.
What are the benefits of upping your step count?
- Strengthening your heart, walking helps the heart muscle to become more efficient and keep blood pressure under control this also pumps oxygen rich blood to your lungs this allows blood to flow more effectively.
- Improve brain function, By Improving blood flow to the brain this reduces inflammation and lowers stress hormone which helps with brain cognition.
- Strengthen your heart, increasing steps increases stroke volume which is how much blood pumps per beat. A larger stroke volume is a sign of greater aerobic capacity, and this is the best predictor of mortality and disease risk.
- Boosts mood, Neurotransmitters are released when exercise takes place which makes us calmer and more energetic. This also helps us sleep better which also enhances mood.
- Decreases anxiety and depression, a ten-minute walk can decrease a depressed mood, may only be temporary it proves activity can deliver relief.
Dr Yu Ming Ni, a cardiologist at the Medical Centre in Fountain Valley, states, “steps alone should not be used to gauge how much exercise is enough”. He recommends that all adults take exercise intentionally everyday where they are able, including taking stairs over elevators and walking instead of driving or taking public transport if possible.
Dr Ni also encourages the use of a step tracking device – these are present on many smart watches and phones now as well as standalone models which can be cheap and easy to obtain and use. Health insurance companies often provide them. Not only will these give an accurate total of steps walked and motivate you to walk more, they also inspire you to reach your goals.
CVD is the leading cause of death globally it also raises blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that HBP accounts for 25% of coronary heart disease and 36% of strokes. Smoking leads to more CVD deaths than risk factors including obesity, physical inactivity, and an imbalance of cholesterol levels.
The study found that for every 1000 steps added, there was a reduction in Cardiovascular disease risk. Researchers suggest that people hoping to work on lowering their risk of CVD, should consider setting themselves achievable goals – make it a personal challenge to up your daily steps to get fitter and to feel better in yourself.
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- Dr Amanda Paluch: https://www.umass.edu/ials/people/amanda-paluch
- National institutes of health: https://allofus.nih.gov/
- Multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis (MESA): https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/science/multi-ethnic-study-atherosclerosis-mesa
- Heart UK: https://www.heartuk.org.uk/genetic-conditions/high-lipoproteina