Is 12 steps a day good?

A study of 4,840 people recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who walk more than 12,000 steps a day die at a much lower rate than those who only walk fewer than 4,000 steps. Moderate levels of activity were also associated with better health outcomes. Tudor-Locke reports that a goal of 10,000 steps per day is a good starting point. I later discovered that this was questionable, to say the least.

My 28-day stay at a 12-step rehabilitation center receiving substance abuse treatment was defined by a series of moments when they told me things that just didn't sound right. But I wasn't in a position to argue. Other studies have again looked at the benefits of counting higher steps, to be clear, many of these did not compare with the benefits of fewer or more steps, making it impossible to say if the same results would occur in other step counts. Another study found that, over a five-year period, participants who had higher step counts at the end of the study had lower body mass indices, lower waist-hip ratios, and better insulin sensitivity than at the beginning (participants had greater improvements by increasing 1000 daily steps).

He mentions the 12 steps a handful of times, but only as a treatment offered to willing patients as part of a “menu of other options for them to choose from”. This is one of the few studies that has compared the results of lower step counts versus higher step counts, and found greater benefits from walking more. The steps accumulated by both groups corresponded to the step intervals recommended by previous studies and did not differ significantly from each other. But if 15,000 steps a day seems like a lofty goal, reaching 10,000 steps will help you lose weight and improve your mood.

The active ingredient for most people in 12 steps doesn't necessarily have to do with theory, but rather with things like the social skills it teaches people. One study showed that participants who reached 7500 steps or more were less likely to report poor sleep, while those who reached 5000 steps or less were more likely to report poor sleep. To meet these goals, you would need to increase your number of steps with another 3,000 to 6,000 steps, bringing the total to up to 15,000 steps per day. The average step rate of the WEG during the 8-week intervention was 129 steps min-1, which exceeded the requirement mentioned above for moderate-intensity exercise.

The combination of the walking exercise program and the daily step goal is a more time-efficient strategy to improve body composition and MS than simply setting a goal of daily steps. The prevalence of revealed MS decreased as daily steps increased; specifically, the odds of having MS were 10% lower for every 1000 additional steps per day (OR %3D 0.90). However, other programs continue to defend the model of care, which continues to guide those suffering from addiction with a course of action toward a life of recovery: The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. For example, if a study only looks at the benefits of 10,000 steps and doesn't compare them to other step counts, research can't conclude how much better 10,000 steps are for a specific health outcome.