Health is the most important thing in life and that importance has been at the forefront with the global COVID-19 pandemic. People have become more interested in exercises to keep healthy, and the most basic and most recommended exercise is just walking.
However, there has been a debate on how much you need to walk. Recently, some experts have claimed that contrary to the popular figure of 10,000 steps, only 4,400 steps a day are enough to protect against serious illnesses.
Exercise and health physiology expert Lindsay Bottoms of the United Kingdom's University of Hertfordshire, in a piece on The Conversation analyzed recent research from Harvard Medical School.
The study compares groups of women with one group walking 4,400 steps daily and the others 2,700 steps a day. It shows that more steps equal a lower risk of death, that is, until around 7,500 steps where it levels off.
Bottoms' reading of the study is that 4,400 steps are enough for a healthier life, and while 10,000 steps are also good for your health, it might be overkill. However, that understanding is contested as well.
Professor Melih Us, lecturer at GATA Haydarpaşa Training Hospital's Cardiovascular Clinic, said focusing on the comparison of 2,700 and 4,400 steps is somewhat misleading as it downplays the benefits of higher step counts.
Meanwhile, there are a number of other things to consider as well, said Us. “The subject shouldn't be reduced just to the number of steps, there are other important factors like the intensity of the exercise, its frequency and duration,” he said.
What most experts agree upon is that walking at least 4,000 steps is greatly beneficial. “It's ideal for healthy people to walk on straight lines in high tempo for between 6,000 and 8,000 steps,” internal diseases expert Aytaç Karadağ told Hürriyet newspaper.
There should be relief and happiness during and after walking, instead of stress,” said dietitian Ece Köprülü and added, “So, for this reason, my advice is rather than staying fixated on the number of steps, walk regularly in conditions that your time and health allows.”
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