This Is How Many Steps You Need To Take A Day To Reduce Your Risk Of Dementia, According To Researchers

Increasing your daily step count may be associated with a lower risk of dementia, according to a recent study published in JAMA Neurology. Researchers analyzed step count data from more than 78,000 people between the ages of 40 and 79 who wore wrist accelerometers, all of whom were selected from the U.K. Biobank cohort (via MedPage Today). They then evaluated the number of steps they took every day, separating them into two categories: those who walked fewer than 40 steps per minute (incidental steps), and those who walked more than 40 steps per minute (purposeful steps).

In addition, they also evaluated who walked the most steps within the span of 30 minutes throughout the day, also known as peak 30-minute cadence. This data was compared to the participants' diagnosis of dementia obtained through hospital or primary care records nearly seven years later. The study's findings revealed that walking between 3,800 to 9,800 steps per day significantly lowered participants' risk of developing dementia.

How you can cut your risk of dementia in half

According to the study, participants who took more than 9,826 steps per day were around 50% less likely to develop dementia within the next seven years. Those who took at least 6,315 purposeful steps per day were able to reduce their risk of dementia by 57%. Furthermore, people who walked 3,800 steps per day decreased their risk of developing dementia by 25%. People who walked more than 112 steps per minute for at least 30 minutes per day saw a 62% reduction in dementia risk (via CNN).

While researchers concede that the study has its limitations — especially because it relies on observational data — they agree that this is an important preliminary contribution to step count-based preventative measures for dementia risk. "We do agree this is a very interesting finding. Our take is that intensity of stepping matters," Borja del Pozo Cruz, an adjunct associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark and co-author of the study, told CNN. "Technology could be [used] to track not only number of steps ... but also pace and so these types of metrics can also be incorporated in commercial watches." However, further research is still needed to confirm whether or not there is a direct link between daily step count and future dementia risk.