FEB 28, 2024 4:30 PM PST

New Research Finds Number of Steps Needed to Reduce Heart Failure Risk

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

New research published in JAMA Cardiology suggests that getting around 3,000 steps per day significantly lowers the risk of developing heart failure in older women.

The study included nearly 6,000 women ages 63 to 99 years old who did not have known heart failure at the start of the study. For seven consecutive days, the women wore accelerometers to measure their levels of physical activity, including total activity, light activity, moderate-to-vigorous activity, and total number of steps per day. Then, the women were followed-up with for an average of 7.5 years, and the incidence of heart failure in the group was monitored. The goal of the study was to see how physical activity time and sedentary time affected rates of heart failure.

The results showed that every 70 minutes per day of light intensity activities corresponded to a 12% lower risk of developing heart failure, and each 30 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous intensity activities corresponded to a 16% lower risk. However, every additional 90 minutes of sedentary time per day corresponded to a 17% greater risk of heart failure. Regarding step counts, the risk of heart failure became significantly lower when participants reached 2,500 steps per day, and 3,600 steps per day corresponded to a 25–30% lower risk.

The authors of the study noted that aiming for at least 3,000 steps per day is a reasonable goal that could lower the risk of developing heart failure. Steps per day are easily understood and measured, so they are a good way to set physical activity goals and give public health recommendations. Notably, the number of steps recommended in this study are far lower than the typical recommendation of 10,000 steps per day. Since the average number of steps per day for women in the study’s age group is only around 2,300, the results of this study may also suggest a more achievable goal that will still have measurable benefits.

Sources: JAMA Cardiology, Science Daily

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
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