Taking 10,000 steps a day, or walking about five miles, is very, very good for you. It’s even better than walking 3,000 steps a day, which is also extremely beneficial if you walk briskly enough to do it in 30 minutes. The 10,000 steps philosophy is not new–there’s even a weight-loss book or two on the topic. But now the 10,000 step regimen has also been linked to an increase in insulin sensitivity in middle-aged adults.
In a five-year Australian study of nearly 600 adults averaging 50 years old, walking more steps was associated with reductions in body mass index, waist to hip ratio, and insulin sensitivity by the end of the study. The study authors estimated that a sedentary person who changed behavior over five years to meet the 10,000 daily step guideline would have a threefold improvement in insulin sensitivity compared with someone who worked up to 3,000 steps five days a week. According to the authors, the association of step activity with better insulin sensitivity was largely accounted for by lower body mass index, a welcome outcome in itself.
So get out that dusty pedometer and march! It’s easy and fun, it won’t wreck your knees, and it’s very, very good for your health.
The study, authored by scientists from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, was published in the British Medical Journal.