The researcher Dr. Evan Brittan explains how just a small addition of walking can change the trajectory of our lives.
Maybe it’s just a stroll in the garden or a sweet romantic walk with your partner but guess what, all walking adds up to a significant betterment in your health and body. Research conducted by Dr. Evan Brittain, associate professor in the division of cardiovascular medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville showed that if we walked just 8,600 steps a day we could prevent weight gain and if you wanted to shed some of that off then you could add an additional 2,400 steps- so around 11,000 steps totally to your daily routine, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine
As scientists would like to constantly remind us, exercise is good for our bodies. “People really can reduce their risk of obesity by walking more,” Dr. Brittan notifies. Diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, diabetes, depression, and GERD showed benefit with higher steps,” he said in an email to CNN. Additionally, “The relationship with hypertension and diabetes plateaued after about 8,000 to 9,000 steps but the others were linear, meaning higher steps continued to reduce risk,” he said. “I would say that the take-home messages are that more steps are better.”
Another researcher, Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver mentioned, “Physical activity is just absolutely magnificent.” Adding, “When if you blend that with eating a more plant-based diet, de-stressing, sleeping enough and connecting with others — that’s your magic recipe. It’s the fountain of youth, if you will.” Therefore, just a small amount of exercise like moving around for 21.43 minutes each day of the week, the risk of dying from all causes drops to one-third, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The research conducted by Dr. Brittan involved around 6,000 participants in the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program to help better understand individualized healthcare. Their research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, had participants who were activity trackers for around 10 hours a day. The researchers were then given access to their electronic health records for multiple years. “Our study had an average of 4 years of continuous activity monitoring. So, we were able to account for the totality of activity between when monitoring started and when a disease was diagnosed, which is a major advantage because we didn’t have to make assumptions about activity over time, unlike all prior studies,” Dr. Brittain said.
People between the ages of 41 and 67 were studied with Body Mass Indexes ranging from 24.3 and 32.9. Their results confirmed that when people walked around 4 miles a day — about 8,200 steps, they are more likely to ward off sleep apnea, acid reflux and major depressive disorder. However, there is a method to all this walking. Like how when people walk 112 steps a minute for 30 minutes, the risk of dementia reduces by 62%, an 80% decline for cardiovascular disease and death, and about a 20% drop in risk for cancer. This 30-minute brisk walking technique doesn’t have to occur all at once, it can be interspersed throughout the day.
A major limitation of all studies using step trackers is that people who wear them tend to be more active and healthier than the norm, the researchers said. “Yet the fact that we were able to detect robust associations between steps and incident disease in this active sample suggests even stronger associations may exist in a more sedentary population,” they said.
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Xavier Lorenzo