Beate Ritz, MD: More steps just a couple of times a week can improve heart health

Taking a certain number of steps for just a few days per week can significantly improve your cardiovascular health according to a recent UCLA Health study

A photo of Dr. Beate Ritz

The research, overseen by Beate Ritz, MD, Vice Chair of Epidemiology at UCLA, and analyzed by one of her former doctoral students Dr. Inoue, an Assistant Professor at Kyoto University, suggests that adults who find it difficult to exercise regularly can still reap health benefits by walking the recommended number of steps (8000) for only a couple days out of the week.

The cohort study was comprised of 3,101 consenting adult participants from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANES) surveys, a sample representative of the US population. All participants, ages 20 and up, were placed into three groups according to the number of days per week they reported taking 8000 steps or more: 0 days, 1-2 days, and 3-7 days, and followed for mortality until 2019. For step count data collection, participants wore accelerometers, monitors that determine when a person is engaged in physical activity.

According to Dr. Ritz, the findings are important.

“If you take 8000 steps or more at least one to three times a week, then your likelihood of dying is reduced by 14 percent,” she said.

Thus, adults who find it challenging to exercise regularly can still achieve meaningful health benefits by doing one of the simplest exercises - walking.

To read the full study, click here: UCLA Health