10,000 steps is a journey worth takingBy Veita Bland, M.D. / July 21, 2022
So many people are wearing smart trackers. Our lives are being documented right before our eyes. Daily, so many patients are able to come into the office and give me data on just how active they are, how well they are sleeping and show me an EKG of just what the rhythm of their heart is doing. Certainly, having all of this data is empowering and can be overwhelming for some.
It is amazing that the 10,000-step goal was thought up as a gimmick by one of the inventors of the devices as an inspirational goal. There was no scientific data initially when people started aspiring to 10,000 steps a day. Many studies have shown that you gain benefit from any activity but certainly the more steps for most, the better.
In a recent study published this month in the journal Diabetes Care the notion of steps per day was investigated. This study was performed by researchers from the University of Seville in Spain. Interestingly enough, their subjects were not from Spain but were Americans. Their database consisted of information collected from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination. This is national health data that is collected on adults and children across our nation. It involves physical examinations and questionaires. This data is used to create health polices, programs, services and to just know about the health of the people in our country.
The researchers focused on diabetics and those who were prediabetic. This is a perfect group to look at. It is well known that diabetics do not die of diabetes but rather die of heart disease. The study examined data for nine years. The data was adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, smoking, alcohol use and if they were on medication or not. The average age of the prediabetic participant was 55 years and with the diabetic, the average age was 61. Males predominated the study with 55 percent in the prediabetes category and 51 percent in the diabetes category.
The subjects wore an accelerometer that was issued by the CDC. Accuracy was important. Some of the data was disavowed due to accuracy questions. The research subjects wore the monitors for seven consecutive days.
The prediabetic participants averaged 8,500 steps per day while the diabetic participants averaged 6,300 steps per day. The researchers found that those walking near the 10,000 steps goal did better. Walking more steps proved beneficial at reducing death from any cause. The more steps they were able to walk, the longer they appeared to survive.
The researchers recommended that those in the prediabetic and diabetic groups speak with their healthcare provider and develop strategies to help them increase the steps they are taking each day and stretch themselves toward the 10,000-step goal. There are many strategies for accomplishing this. Be proactive and get in those steps.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.