Walking more daily can improve cardiovascular health in older adults. In older adults, each time you walk 500 extra steps in a day, you reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 14%, according to a new study. According to the researchers, the health benefits of walking start from 3,000 daily steps.

Many studies link physical activity, including brisk walking, to good health. With most of them focused on young or middle-aged adults, the benefits of walking for older people have been less studied. New research, however, is exploring how walking can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Researchers recently found that for people aged 70 and over, every additional 500 steps of daily brisk walking reduced the risk of CVD by 14%.
Additionally, people who walked about 4,500 steps a day reduced their risk of CVD by 77%.

More steps lower the risk

The research involved 452 participants in the ongoing Atherosclerosis Risk Study. The average age of the participants was 78 years old, and 59% were women. The researchers tracked the participants’ daily step counts using a hip-worn accelerometer, and their cardiovascular health was tracked for a period of 3.5 years.

During this period, nearly 12% of participants who walked less than 2,000 steps per day experienced a cardiovascular event. Only 3.5% of those who walked about 4,500 steps a day got one.
Cardiac events include coronary heart disease, stroke, or heart failure. Similarly, in another recently published study, researchers found that 11 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per day (or about 75 minutes per week), such as brisk walking, hiking or dancing, can reduce risk of diseases such as heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.

Why walking is so useful

Although higher intensity physical activity is also beneficial to health, brisk walking may be a more practical option for older adults. Walking is a great way to get physical activity. Not only is it a low-impact, weight-bearing exercise that is important for bone health in older adults, but walking is associated with reducing CVD risk factors by helping to control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, decrease weight and help reduce stress.

In addition, walking is an excellent physiological stimulus to improve the strength and quality of heart muscle and blood vessels in the elderly. Walking lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which “reduces the stress and strain on the heart muscle to pump blood throughout the body. This reduction in blood pressure also makes strokes less likely because it reduces the force of blood flowing through the brain. This research makes a strong case for adding cardio exercises, such as walking, to the daily routine, in the morning for women and in the evening for men, to significantly reduce blood pressure and improve ‘mood.

Daily step tracking

The participants’ steps were tracked by a device, but there are other ways to count the distance walked if a person does not wish to wear a step-tracker. Are you a step tracker or not? It depends on the individual. There is little point in adopting a ‘system’ that you don’t like.

150 minutes per week

In general, it is recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise, which may include brisk walking, per week. Like walking between 4,000 and 7,000 steps a day on weekdays, and reaching 10,000 steps, if possible, on weekends. An easy way to do this is to break up your walks into small 10-15 minute chunks throughout the day. Also, take your nature walks, known as “forest bathing,” to boost your emotional and psychological health.

If we measure the walk according to the distance covered, 500 steps correspond to 400 meters.

To motivate the elderly to walk, everything is good. Like using some form of reminder or motivation to get them to get out and walk, whether that’s just by using a phone’s health app, a foot pod they strap to their waist or wrist, or a companion Steps. Many phones these days come with apps that track steps.

Can an elderly person walk too much or too fast?

This research concluded that the health benefits start from around 3,000 brisk steps per day. A simple way to confirm that the walk is brisk enough: You can tell that you are walking briskly if you can still talk but can’t sing the lyrics to a song.

One limitation of the research is that there is no way to know whether walking improved participants’ health or whether poor health reduced the distance they could walk. However, other research supports the benefits of walking. Indeed, other studies have shown that there is no risk of death when walking up to 10 times the recommended amount. Of course, you shouldn’t take too many steps. That is to say, a sudden and significant increase, beyond what we are used to. If you increase, you have to do it gradually. A good rule of thumb is not to increase your walking by more than 10% per week. Too large increases can lead to musculoskeletal injuries.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.