The massive study followed 47,000 participants for seven years and tried to explore how power walking affected mortality by using accelerometers, devices that measure changes in velocity, to track physical activity. Of the people studied, 53 percent were women and, among other findings, the study revealed a chief Insights into how much power walking you need to do to gain longevity.
Drum roll, please: Research indicates that if everyone started power walking for an extra 10 minutes a day, we could prevent more than 111,000 deaths each year. Meaning, in theory, if you’re not walking right now, just 10 minutes is enough to start extending your life. And if you’re already spending time walking, you’ll need to add an extra 10 minutes at a faster clip to reap the rewards.
Additionally, increasing moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity by 10, 20, or 30 minutes per day was associated with a 6.9 percent, 13 percent, and 16.9 percent reduction in deaths per year, respectively. This suggests that even that short, half-hour lunch break can go a long way when it comes to your health and well-being.
As refresher, Eli Friedman, MD, as sports director Cardiology at Baptist Health’s Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute, previously told Well+Good: “Power walking is similar to regular walking, but with more intensity and a faster pace. In other words, the number of strides per minute will increase and the upper body may be used to propel the body forward. Use the arms in particular. One may find that their breathing is labored and their heart rate quickens as a result of walking.”
For those of you still looking for an accurate step count, though, here’s the deal: “For those 60 and older, 6,000 to 8,000 steps per day had the greatest impact on reducing mortality, and for those under 60, the range was 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day. ,” wrote functional medicine doctor Mark Hyman, MD, in an Instagram post based on the research. For context, there are about 2,250 steps per mile, so you’d need to walk about three miles to hit the mark. (10,000 steps, meanwhile, is about five miles.)
So those for whom longevity is a primary fitness goal will ideally walk as many daily steps as possible to extend their lifespan as much as possible. But even if not, every minute counts, quite literally, which is why adding an extra 10 to your walks — as long as they’re vigorous — is a great way to give your future self a leg up.