Can’t walk 10,000 steps? No problem. Even a fifth of that can make a difference to your health.
New research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, involving more than 75,000 people, all middle-aged and older, found that even 2,000 steps a day can reduce the risk of premature death by 8 to 11 percent and also can keep you healthy.
Indian doctors can only agree.
“Ideally, 10,000 steps should be the goal. But walking 2,000 steps can positively impact one’s health. It not only gives flexibility to muscles, it also improves heart health, and keeps diabetes in control,” said Dr Abhay Gundubarti, an endocrinologist at Sagar Hospitals in Bengaluru.
There have been many studies that show that walking, especially brisk walking, is beneficial in various ways, including in cardiac health, dementia, breast cancer, and even early death.
How to take those 2,000 steps
If 2,000 steps are all it takes, should those be taken any differently from 10,000 steps?
Yes, say Bengaluru doctors. Walking at a faster pace is linked to many health benefits. So, the 2,000 steps, if taken with quick steps or a small jog or walking uphill, can burn calories too.
“Ideally, 10,000 steps is beneficial when achieved in one go. But even 2,000 will work. It helps boost your oxygenated blood to organs which is good for heart health and brain health,” explains Dr Meghna Mevawala, clinical and sports nutritionist and a functional medicine expert in Bengaluru.
“But burning of calories per se depends on one’s body weight too. The heavier you are, the muscle fat tends to be more and hence more calories are burnt as more energy is required to move then,” she told South First.
Walking can reduce knee pain 10x
While walking is usually linked to weight loss and good mental and physical health, it is also excellent for osteoarthritis patients.
Many people stop walking the moment their knees start hurting, but staying active is one of the keys to managing the soreness in your joints, says Dr Anand Murthy, orthopaedic surgeon at the Anand Murthy Ortho centre in Bengaluru.
Noting that our knee and hip joints bear the weight of our bodies, Dr Murthy told South First: “Several knee-related issues, including osteoarthritis (arthritis of the knee joints), is a prevalent ailment among persons who are extremely obese. As obesity limits people’s activity they tend to gain more weight, exacerbating the illness.”
“It helps to walk at least for 2,000 steps, even after knee replacement surgeries, as this can help them lose weight and build muscle strength,” he adds.
Ideally, one should start with high-impact exercises that help stimulate bone production from a younger age, before the bone mass begins to decline. But for elder patients, doctors say 2,000 steps definitely help.
“No oral medicine can replace physical activity. Sedentary lifestyles and physical inactivity result in osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia, and fatty liver, which increases morbidity,” says Dr P Rohith Rathod of Government Medical College, Sangareddy, Telangana.
Achieve those 2,000 steps inside your home
Here are some simples tips by Wanitha Ashok, Fit India Ambassador, author, youth icon
columnist, fitness motivator, and lifestyle blogger on how to get those 2,000 steps within your home.
- Be the first one to answer the doorbell.
- Keep sipping on water to keep yourself hydrated.
- Don’t sit in one place and drink the water.
- Stand and walk some distance to drink the water.
- Don’t come back to the desk immediately, walk around for a few minutes.
- Walk during every TV commercial break.
- A break is for at least two minutes. Walk till it’s done.
- Run up and down the stairs