The Importance of Daily Steps and the Dangers of Sedentary Lifestyle

In our increasingly digital and convenience-oriented world, the importance of physical activity often takes a back seat. Yet, recent research underscores the critical role that daily physical activity, particularly measured in steps, plays in maintaining cardiovascular health and overall well-being.

Manuela Băbuș
Medical Writer
The Importance of Daily Steps and the Dangers of Sedentary Lifestyle
source: freep!k

This article explores the benefits of daily steps and the dangers posed by a sedentary lifestyle, providing insights into how simple changes can make a significant impact on health.

The Benefits of Daily Steps; Key Findings from Recent Studies

A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (Ahmadi MN, 2024) examined the associations between daily step count, all-cause mortality, and incident cardiovascular disease (CVD), considering different levels of sedentary time. The study revealed several important insights:

1. Reduced Mortality Risk: 

   - Any amount of daily steps above the baseline of 2200 steps/day is associated with lower mortality risk.

   - Achieving between 9000 and 10,500 steps/day is linked to the lowest mortality risk, irrespective of sedentary time.

2. Lower CVD Risk:

   - For an equivalent number of steps per day, the risk of incident CVD is lower for those with low sedentary time compared to those with high sedentary time.

- The optimal daily step count for reducing CVD risk was found to be around 9700 steps/day.


How Walking Improves Health?

Walking, one of the simplest forms of exercise, provides numerous health benefits:

- Improves Cardiovascular Health: Regular walking helps improve cardiovascular health in several ways:

  • Improves Circulation: Enhances blood flow, reducing the risk of clots and arterial blockages.
  • Lowers Blood Pressure: Regular physical activity helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
  • Reduces Cholesterol: Lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL).

- Aids Weight Management: Helps burn calories, which can aid in maintaining or achieving a healthy weight.

- Boosts Mental Health: Regular walking can reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression.

- Increases Longevity: Consistent physical activity is linked to a longer, healthier life.

The Dangers of a Sedentary Lifestyle

Sedentary behavior involves prolonged periods of sitting or inactivity. Common examples include: watching TV, working at a computer, or sitting during long commutes. High levels of sedentary behavior are alarmingly prevalent in modern society.


A sedentary lifestyle is positively associated with increased ASCVD risk. 

Sitting for more than 6 hours a day and watching television for more than 4 hours a day significantly raises the risk of CVD mortality. Each additional hour of sedentary behavior increases the risk. (Schmidt-Trucksass A, 2024)

Recent data indicate that replacing 30 minutes of sitting or light activity with moderate or intense physical activity improves body mass index (BMI), HbA1c levels, and lipid profiles, suggesting a long-term reduction in cardiovascular events. Intensive physical activity enhances cardiorespiratory fitness more effectively than moderate activity. (Schmidt-Trucksass A, 2024)

The dangers of a sedentary lifestyle are well-documented. High sedentary time is associated with an increased risk of various health issues:

- Cardiovascular Diseases: Prolonged sitting is linked to higher risks of heart disease and stroke.

- Obesity: Lack of physical activity contributes to weight gain and obesity.

- Type 2 Diabetes: Sedentary behavior increases the risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

- Mental Health Issues: Higher levels of sedentary time are associated with increased risks of depression and anxiety.

Practical Tips for Increasing Daily Steps

Integrating more steps into our daily routine can be straightforward and effective. Here are some practical strategies to help us increase our daily step count:

1. Set Incremental Goals: Start with achievable targets and gradually increase our step count.

2. Use Technology: Utilize pedometers, fitness trackers, or smartphone apps to monitor your steps and stay motivated.

3. Take the Stairs: Opt for stairs instead of elevators whenever possible.

4. Walk and Talk: Make phone calls or conduct meetings while walking.

5. Park Further Away: Choose parking spots farther from your destination to add more steps.

6. Take Short Walks: Break up our day with short, frequent walks, especially if we have a sedentary job.

7. Incorporate Walking into Daily Activities: Walk while doing daily tasks like shopping, running errands, or during breaks.


The Role of Technology

Modern technology has made it easier than ever to track physical activity. Wearable devices and smartphones can accurately measure daily steps, providing valuable feedback and motivation. 

This technology allows individuals to set goals, monitor progress, and make informed decisions about their physical activity levels.

Addressing Sedentary Behavior

Reducing sedentary behavior is as important as increasing physical activity. Here are some strategies to combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting:

1. Stand Up Regularly: Take short breaks to stand and stretch if we sit for extended periods.

2. Light Physical Activity: Incorporate light activities like standing or walking during idle times.

3. Ergonomic Workstations: Use standing desks or adjustable workstations to reduce sitting time.

4. Active Breaks: Schedule regular breaks during work or study sessions to move around.


The evidence is clear: increasing our daily step count and reducing sedentary time can significantly improve our health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. By making small, sustainable changes to our daily routine, we can achieve meaningful health benefits. Whether it's taking the stairs, going for a walk during lunch, or using technology to track our progress, every step counts towards a healthier life.

Remember, consistency is key, and every step you take brings you closer to better health.


The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

Article Citations & Bibliography
  1. mortality and incident cardiovascular disease differ by sedentary time levels? A device-based cohort studyBritish Journal of Sports Medicine 2024;58:261-268.
  2. Paluch AE, Bajpai S, Bassett DR, et al. Daily steps and all-cause mortality: a metaanalysis of 15 international cohorts. Lancet Public Health 2022;7:e219–28. 
  3. 3 Del Pozo Cruz B, Ahmadi MN, Lee I-M, et al. Prospective associations of daily step counts and intensity with cancer and cardiovascular disease incidence and mortality and all-cause mortality. JAMA Intern Med 2022;182:1139–48. 
  4. A. Schmidt-Trucksass ¨ et al.

Please note that the information provided on this blog is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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Manuela Băbuș.
Medical Writer