BOSTON – People over the age of 70 who take an additional 500 steps per day have a 14% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to new American scientific research. Compared to those who take less than 2,000 steps per day overall, those who exceed 4,500 steps daily have a 77% lower risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event. Researchers, led by assistant professor of epidemiology Erin Dooly at the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama, who made the announcement at a medical conference of the American Heart Association in Boston, studied 452 people with an average age of 78 who wore a special step-tracking device for several days. The participants’ average daily step count was around 3,500 steps.
Over the course of 3.5 years, 7.5% of the individuals experienced coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or another cardiovascular incident. Nearly 12% of people who took fewer than 2,000 steps per day experienced a cardiovascular problem, compared to only 3.5% among those who took over 4,500 steps daily. “It is important to maintain our physical activity as we age, but we should also set goals for our daily step count. We were surprised to find that for every extra 500 steps per day, there was such a strong benefit for heart health. While we don’t want to diminish the importance of more intense physical activity, encouraging small increases in daily steps also has significant cardiovascular benefits.
If you are over 70, start trying to take 500 more steps every day. Steps are an easy way to measure physical activity, and the more an elderly person takes, the lower their risk of cardiovascular incidents,” said Dr. Dooly. For better cardiovascular health, experts recommend eight basic things: a healthy diet, physical activity, no smoking, adequate sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.