#352 How Many Steps a Day Do You Need to Cheat Death and Avoid Heart Disease?

How Many Steps a Day Do You Need to Cheat Death and Avoid Heart Disease?

Everyone knows that walking is healthy, but have you ever wondered just how many steps it takes to cheat death and steer clear of heart disease? In a world where the pursuit of longevity is a common goal, a recent meta-analysis of 17 studies, involving nearly 227,000 participants followed for 7. 1 years, unveils a captivating connection between the simple act of walking and the potential to extend life while fortifying the heart. This groundbreaking exploration brings forth a message of hope: each step you take is a stride towards a longer, healthier life, challenging preconceived notions and opening the door to a personalized path to well-being.

Your Risk of Dying in the Next 7.1 Years Based on Your Step Count

After looking at the graphs and tables in the study, it turns out that how much you walk each day can affect your chances of living longer. So here is my very rough estimate from the graphs in this study of how many steps you need each day to still be alive 7.1 years from now.

If you make an effort to walk around 5,000 steps every day, the chances of living longer become 50% better compared to someone who only walks 1,000 steps daily. If you want to get the most out of your efforts, increasing your daily step count from 1,000 to 5,000 gives you the highest rewards. So, according to what I learned from this study, it’s a good idea for everyone to do their best to reach at least the 5,000 steps daily goal. Remember, every step you take is a step toward a healthier and longer life, and it’s something achievable that can make a big difference if you still want to be around in 7.1 years.

If you go up to 10,000 steps every day, the benefit is even bigger – your chance of dying is about 80% less than someone doing only 1,000 steps a day. But here’s the catch: once you go beyond 10000 steps daily, the benefits start to slow down.

For example, taking 15,000 steps daily only decreases your risk of dying by 90%, and going all the way up to 20,000 steps daily only decreases your risk by 95%, compared to someone who only moves 1,000 steps daily. So, it’s not just about walking more; finding the right balance that fits your abilities is key, and even a small increase in daily steps can make a big difference in how long you live.

How Should You Track Your Steps?

When it comes to keeping tabs on your daily steps and overall heart health, investing in a smartwatch is a wise move, especially for those under my care as a cardiologist specializing in cardiac arrhythmias.

For  my patients that are iPhone users, I highly recommend the Apple Watch series 4 or later (or any of the Ultra models), which not only monitors your heart rhythms and conducts ECGs but also effortlessly tracks your daily steps.

On the Android front, my preference leans towards the Samsung Galaxy Watch or one of the Fitbit watches that can also track heart rhythms and ECGs in additions to steps. Equipping yourself with a smartwatch tailored to your phone not only ensures accurate step tracking but also provides valuable insights into your heart health, empowering you to take proactive measures for a healthier lifestyle.

If investing in a smartwatch is not within your budget, there are free pedometer apps available for both iPhones and Android phones. These pedometer apps allow you to monitor your daily steps without the need for any additional expenses. While these smartphone apps don’t offer ECG capabilities, there are more affordable ECG devices, such as the Kardia monitor, priced between $70 to $80 on Amazon.

A Message of Hope

In conclusion, this comprehensive meta-analysis study offers a resounding message of hope: every step you take is a step toward a healthier heart and a longer life. Regardless of age, gender, or location, the benefits of walking are universal and attainable. The study not only reaffirms the importance of physical activity but also encourages a personalized approach to health, highlighting that every step counts.

Once you have received approval from your physician to boost your physical activity, aim to add at least one more step to your daily count compared to yesterday. Gradually increase your step count, taking small, manageable steps toward a more active and healthier lifestyle.

So, lace up your walking shoes and embark on a journey towards improved cardiovascular health. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll or an ambitious walk, your heart will thank you for every step you take. Remember, the power to enhance your well-being is right beneath your feet!


Prior to making any significant changes to your physical activity, especially in relation to step count, it is crucial to consult with your physician or healthcare professional. Increasing your step count should be done gradually and under the guidance of a healthcare provider to ensure it aligns with your individual health needs and conditions. This article provides general information and encouragement, but individual health considerations should always take precedence, with professional advice sought for personalized guidance.

Disclaimer Policy: This website is intended to give general information and does not provide medical advice. This website does not create a doctor-patient relationship between you and Dr. John Day. If you have a medical problem, immediately contact your healthcare provider. Information on this website is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Dr. John Day is not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your medical decisions.