Walking to Live Longer

Many of us track our daily steps using a smart device such as our phone or watch. The goal tends to be set at 10,000 steps per day. But what if we only achieve 4,000 steps per day? Is that still beneficial? We now have the answer to that question! A high quality study was published in JAMA Intern Med May 29 2019. The following are their findings. Over 16,000 women were studied, average age 72 and were followed for 4.3 years. They found that death from all causes was related to average numbers of steps taken per day. Compared with the least active women (2,700 steps per day), women who averaged 4,400 steps per day had 46% lower all-cause mortality. Women who walked an average of 5,900 steps had 53% lower mortality. Women who had the most steps per day, averaging 8,400 steps had 66% mortality. The researchers also reported that walking more than an average of 7,500 steps per day did not have an additional beneficial effect on mortality.

As the creator of The OWL Diet I am very pleased to see that walking an average of 4,400 steps per day has such a positive effect on living longer!

Calculating how far we should walk: How many steps are there in a mile? That varies based on your personal stride. If we use a short stride in our calculation then you can estimate 2,000 steps per mile, so walking 2 and 1/4 mile should ensure you hit the mark of 4,400 steps per day. But that does not include how many steps you take during the rest of your day!

How much time, in minutes, do you need to walk per day? Perhaps you don’t count steps but are willing to measure the amount of time spent walking. Assuming you walk a mile in 20 minutes (average pace) you would need to walk for about 45 minutes total. If you are a faster walker, you will be done more quickly.

Walking while hydrated and with a small snack While actively OWL dieting we allow walking, and as long as you are well hydrated and walk with a snack of fruit to eat (in case you feel weak or light headed) then walking 30-45 minutes per day should not interfere with your success on the diet plan.

No Cardio while on The OWL Diet On the other hand working out hard (running, sweating, breathing hard) on The OWL Diet is not recommended on 800 calories per day. Once you achieve your weight loss goal, and you increase your calories to a normal healthy level, then we encourage you to be as active as you wish to be. Keep in mind, studies like this one are showing that walking is a great form of exercise – you don’t have to be a runner to stay healthy!