New research presented at the American Heart Association’s EPI Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Sessions 2023 has shown that walking an additional 500 steps per day is associated with a 14% lower risk of heart disease, stroke, or heart failure for people over 70 years old.
The study included a subset of participants in the ongoing Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. Data was taken from 452 participants who used a step counting device for three or more days for at least 10 hours per day. The participants were an average of 78 years old. The average step count per day of participants was 3500 steps, and they were followed-up with for 3.5 years. During that time, 7.5% of the participants had a cardiovascular disease event such as a stroke or heart failure.
Analysis of the data showed that participants who took around 4,500 steps per day had a 77% lower risk of cardiovascular disease events than those who took 2,000 or fewer steps per day. About 12% of participants with 2,000 or fewer steps per day experienced a cardiovascular disease event, while only 3.5% of those taking 4,500 steps had a similar event. Every additional 500 steps that participants took per day corresponded to a 14% lower risk of experiencing cardiovascular disease.
The study authors noted that maintaining a healthy level of physical activity is very important as we age. Step goals are generally attainable for most older adults, and this study has shown that even small increases in steps per day can have major heart benefits. Regular physical activity is one of several aspects of heart health that are important at all ages, including a healthful diet, good sleep habits, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Sources: Science Daily