A recent study by NUS Medicine alumna, Professor Lee I-Min from the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard's Medical School and the T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that the “10,000 steps a day” goal has little scientific basis. According to her, this goal is attributed as one reason why people do not move more as they think that health benefits ensue only when one hits the 10,000 steps mark.
Instead, Prof Lee found that health benefits can be seen at a lower “4,400 steps a day” mark.
Her research quantified how many daily steps are really needed for people to see health benefits, and she was pleasantly surprised that "such a relatively small number of steps would be associated with such a substantial reduction in mortality.”
Still, one does not need to just stop at 4,400 steps a day. Prof Lee observed that the more steps one takes a day, the longer one’s life expectancy. In her past studies, she also found a significantly lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer among those who did more physical activity.
She encourages others to make small lifestyle changes to be more physically active as single bout of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity can improve the night’s sleep, reduce anxiety symptoms, improve cognition, reduce blood pressure and improve insulin sensitivity.