Studies show that inactivity and extended periods of sitting can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes type 2, cancer, early death, and many other health problems. On the other hand, being active has been shown to decrease the risk of many conditions including dementia, depression, balance issues, sleep problems, cognition—including attention and retention.
The American Heart Association reports that middle-aged people who walk the most steps per day have a 43% lower risk of diabetes and a 31% lower risk of high blood pressure, compared to those with the fewest steps.
Step counts can help predict obesity. Each 1,000-step interval resulted in a 13% lower risk of obesity in women, and those with the highest step counts were 61% less likely to have obesity. People who took at least 7,000 steps a day had a 50% to 70% lower risk of death compared to those who took fewer than 7,000 steps a day, according to a study published in JAMA.
Researchers discovered that people who took 10,000 or more steps each day had the lowest risk of premature death from any cause. Walking is the simplest way to improve your health. Simply put on a good pair of shoes and find a safe place to walk or jog, then drink water and repeat it five times per week.
Other ways to increase your step count includes
- Use a treadmill at home
- Do extra yardwork
- Walk your dog
- Ride a bike
- Play light sports
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week to maintain good health. Just 20 minutes of brisk walking a day gets you there. There is no doubt that daily walks will have a significant impact on your health, but the amount of impact is unknown. You must combine daily walks with a proper diet and other exercises in order to get lasting health benefits.
The best way to remain healthy is to follow these 3 simple steps:
- Exercise 3-5 times per week.
- Add fruits and vegetables to your diet while reducing intake of refined sugars and processed food.
- See your health care provider for preventative screening health checks.