Skip to main content

Two women with grey hair and glasses walking.

A March 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people who take more steps daily greatly lower their risk of an early death from any cause.

Researchers looked at the number of deaths among a group of 4,480 adults aged 40 and over. The average age of study participants was 56.8 years. The study included 2,435 women (54%) and 1,732 people with obesity (36%). Participants wore a device that tracked steps and walking speed 14 hours per day for six days. The study tracked those who took part in the study for 10 years and recorded the total number of deaths from any cause. Of the 1,165 deaths, 406 were related to heart disease, and 283 were from cancer.

Regardless of pace, the more steps per day a person took, the lower the rate of death. The study compared the rate of death among people who regularly took the following amount of daily steps: fewer than 4,000 steps; 4,000 to 7,999 steps; 8,000 to 11,999 steps; and more than 12,000 steps per day.

Those who walked 8,000 steps a day were significantly less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, cancer, or any cause than those who took 4,000 steps or fewer. Those who took 12,000 steps per day also were significantly less likely to die early than those who took fewer than 4,000 steps per day.

The study concluded that more daily steps are associated with lower mortality from any cause.

What's the bottom line? Physical activity to the tune of at least 8,000 steps a day improves life span. More movement means better health.

Physical therapists are movement experts who help people of all abilities achieve their health goals and improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement.

If you have an underlying condition or pain that prevents you from achieving 8,000 steps a day, a physical therapist can help. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To find a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.

Find a PT near you!


Related Resources

Additional Information

Access additional Did You Know? pages.

Is this content helpful?

Thanks for the feedback!

Thank you. Your feedback has been sent.

You Might Also Like...

Health Tips

Parkinson Disease: 9 Things to Know for Better Quality of Life

Jun 8, 2022

While there is no cure for Parkinson disease, high-quality evidence indicates that a physical therapist can help you delay many of its adverse effects

Did You Know?

Doing Half the Recommended Physical Activity Can Still Lower Depression Risk

May 23, 2022

Getting the recommended amount of physical activity can lower depression risk. But what if you don’t — or can't — achieve that amount? A new study shows

Health Tips

Tips for Healthy Cycling From Physical Therapists

May 6, 2022

Cycling is a repetitive activity, that can lead to discomfort or pain. If you have pain related to cycling, you might have a bike fit problem. These tips