People who track their daily steps are less likely to develop health problems that lead to events like heart attacks or broken bones, Reuters reports.
A new study analyzed physical activity levels and robust health outcomes. Health benefits from physical activity interventions require sustained increases in physical activity levels, yet evidence of long-term objective increases in physical activity and effects on health outcomes is lacking, the authors claim.
Data were published in PLOS Medicine journal.
Researchers examined data on 1,297 participants from clinical trials that randomly assigned half of the people to track steps with pedometers over 12 weeks while the rest of them did no tracking at all. When they joined the trial, people took about 7,500 steps a day and got 90 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity in at least 10-minute bouts.
Three to four years later, people who used pedometers were getting about 30 more minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity, the study found. Pedometer users were also 44% less likely to experience a fracture and 66% less likely to have a serious cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke.
Short-term pedometer-based walking interventions can help adults and older adults to achieve not only sustained increases in physical activity but also important long-term health benefits, the authors conclude.
Pedometers can be helpful for patients to use, as they give people a clear idea of how much they are doing (self-monitoring) and can be used to set realistic goals for increasing their walking gradually. Increasing your walking and maintaining this can reduce your risk of heart attacks, strokes and fractures over the next few years,” said lead study author Tess Harris, a professor of primary care research at St George’s University of London in the U.K.