Just 4,000 steps a day can lower risk of early death, analysis finds

Have you gotten in your 10,000 steps today? Maybe you’re only halfway to your goal? Well, that’s OK, an analysis found.

Although taking more steps each day is definitely better for your health, a 2023 meta-analysis showed walking a minimum of 4,000 steps can sharply reduce you risk of an early death, and getting in just 2,337 steps can reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, specifically.

“The more steps you walk, the better the effects on your health, and every increase of steps by 500-1000 steps/day may be associated with significant mortality reductions,” first author Dr. Maciej Banach, deputy editor-in-chief of the European Society of Cardiology, told CNN in an email.

According to the study, however, fewer than 5,000 steps daily still constitutes a sedentary lifestyle. The researchers analyzed data on about 227,000 people from 17 studies in Australia, Japan, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“To our best knowledge it is the largest analysis (done) so far,” Banach told CNN. The analysis was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology,

The study’s methods were “robust and state of the art,” and support what doctors often tell their patients, Dr. David Katz, president and founder of the nonprofit True Health Initiative, a global coalition of experts dedicated to evidence-based lifestyle medicine, told CNN.

“First, any exercise is better than none — with significant cardiovascular and overall health benefit at quite modest levels,” the specialist in preventive and lifestyle medicine added. “And for the range of activity that pertains to the public at large — the more, the better,” said Katz, who was not involved in the study.

Although 4,000 steps significantly improved participants’ chances of living longer, the risk of an early death was most reduced when people walked more than 7,000 steps a day, the analysis showed.

The analysis also found the health benefits were the same for men and women regardless of country.