Walking 10,000 steps a day has become one of those simplistic fitness goals that confers significant health and longevity benefits. No argument there. But it’s the equivalent of walking five miles, and the time it takes can often be no easy matter.
Are there options? Could get equivalent benefits in less time?
As reported on Good Morning America here, climbing stairs is a good option. According to a study of more than 450,000 adults, climbing five flights of stairs a day — which amounts to about 50 steps — lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20%.
Even better, you can break up the total amount into smaller segments and still get the same benefits.
The article quotes Dr. Darien Sutton, an emergency medicine physician: “If you choose one flight of stairs, you go up it two to three times a day. If you’re working in an office, choose a bathroom that’s on a different floor.”
Sutton claims that in addition to cardio benefits, climbing stairs can also improve muscle strength and reduce the risk of diabetes.
The article cites another study, in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, finding that short bursts of activity contribute to longevity. We had a section on this in our book, talking about “exercise snacks.” The British study found that just 20 to 25 minutes per day of vigorous movement, like walking briskly or jogging, promotes longevity.
Of course, this doesn’t mean stopping a 10,000 steps program if you’re on one and can do it. But it’s good to know there are alternatives that also deliver strong benefits.
(Photo credit: YakobchukOlena at iStock by Getty)