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Good news for sedentary workers

Mar. 06, 2024.
2 min. read 10 Interactions

Daily steps may counteract the health consequences of too much sedentary time 

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Amara Angelica

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Amara Angelica is Senior Editor, Mindplex

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Increasing your daily step count may counteract the health consequences of too much sedentary time each day, a new study of more than 72,000 people by the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre (Australia) has found.

Optimal number of steps per day

Every additional step, up to around 10,000 steps a day, was linked to reduced risk of death (39 percent) and cardiovascular disease (21 percent), regardless of how much remaining time was spent sedentary, the study found.

Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the research is the first to objectively measure, via wrist-worn wearables, whether daily steps could offset the health risks of high sedentary behavior.

After taking account of other potential influences, the researchers calculated that the optimal number of steps per day to counteract high sedentary time was between 9000 to 10000, which lowered mortality risk by 39 percent and incident CVD risk by 21 percent. In both cases, 50 percent of the benefit was achieved at between 4000 and 4500 steps a day.

Research specifics

Researchers used data on 72,174 individuals (average age 61; 58% female) from the UK Biobank study—a major biomedical database—who had worn an accelerometer device on their wrist for seven days to measure their physical activity. The accelerometer data were used to estimate daily step count and time spent sedentary, that is sitting or lying down while awake.

The research team then followed the health trajectory of the participants by linking hospitalization data and death records.

Median steps and time

The median daily step count for participants was 6222 steps/day, and 2200 steps/day (the lowest 5 percent of daily steps among all participants) was taken as the comparator for assessing the impact on death and CVD events of increasing step count.

The median time spent sedentary was 10.6 hours/day, so study participants sedentary for 10.5 hours/day or more were considered to have high sedentary time while those who spent less than 10.5 hours/day sedentary were classified as low sedentary time.

Adjustments were made to eliminate biases, such as excluding participants with poor health, who were underweight or had a health event within two years of followup. Researchers also took into account factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, education, smoking status, alcohol consumption, diet and parental history of CVD and cancer.

Citation: Ahmadi MN, Rezende LFM, Ferrari G, et al. March 5, 2024. Do the associations of daily steps with mortality and incident cardiovascular disease differ by sedentary time levels? A device-based cohort study. British Journal of Sports Medicine Published Online First: doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2023-107221 (open access)

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3 thoughts on “Good news for sedentary workers

  1. Amazing side from socity

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  2. beautiful work

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  3. Cars are killing us 😉

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