Study Shows That 6000-8000 Steps Could Improve Heart Health For Older Adults

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The University of Massachusetts Amherst conducted a study that found that steps can improve the heart health of older adults. According to the lead study author and a physical activity assistant professor of kinesiology at the University’s School of Health and Sciences, Amanda Paluch, walking between 6000 and 9000 steps daily for older adults reduced their chance of a stroke or heart attack by 40-50%.

How researchers conducted the study

 Paluch worked with Steps for Health Collaborative for the study. They analyzed 15 previous studies involving 15,000 people on four continents. The findings indicated that 6000-8000 steps lowered the risk of death from various diseases. After this study, Paluch and her team wanted to evaluate how steps could improve heart health specifically. Paluch states that this study should lead health workers to encourage the older population to take more steps.

The researchers state that these results benefit those with less activity. People who walk about 2000 steps daily could benefit from increasing these steps. For those already at 6000, gradually increasing to 8000 steps would be good for their hearts.

Younger adults derived fewer benefits from walking

The second research involved an analysis of eight studies. About 20,000 people from 43 countries, including the U S were part of the study. Researchers did not find a link between daily steps and cardiovascular health along young adults.

Paluch explains that this is due to a higher prevalence of cardiovascular diseases among older adults. She adds that to examine the benefits of steps on the heart health of younger adults, the study would have to check for precursors of heart disease like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. This study instead followed up on whether participants had developed a cardiovascular disease after six years.

Some of the studies the researchers used examined whether the intensity and speed of steps mattered to heart health. While there is more work to be done on the topic, Paluch states that they did not find any indication that they provided additional benefits. This study received support from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Paluch hopes her work can give clear guidelines to people on simple and accessible physical exercise methods.

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