HealthDay News — For older adults, every additional 500 daily steps are associated with a 14 percent lower risk for a cardiovascular disease (CVD) event during 3.5 years of follow-up, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health 2023 Scientific Sessions, held from Feb. 28 to March 3 in Boston.
Erin E. Dooley, Ph.D., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, and colleagues assessed whether more daily steps are associated with a lower risk for proximal CVD events (within 3.5 years) among 452 older adults (aged 70 years or older).
The researchers found that CVD cumulative incidence was highest among those in the least active step quartile (Q1: <2,077 steps/day) versus the most active quartile (Q4: ≥4,453 steps/day). There was an association observed for lower risk for CVD with every 500 steps/day (about one-quarter of a mile; hazard ratio, 0.86). Additionally, participants in Q4 had a lower risk for a proximal CVD event (hazard ratio, 0.23) compared with participants in Q1.
“It’s important to maintain physical activity as we age; however, daily step goals should also be attainable. We were surprised to find that every additional quarter of a mile, or 500 steps, of walking had such a strong benefit to heart health,” Dooley said in a statement. “While we do not want to diminish the importance of higher intensity physical activity, encouraging small increases in the number of daily steps also has significant cardiovascular benefits.”