New research shows walking 10,000 steps a day for 100 days can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing, weight loss, blood pressure and cardiovascular health.
The annual cost of mental health problems globally are estimated at $3.9 trillion AUD and are expected to rise to $7.4 trillion by 2030, higher than that of cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes.
Two thousand people participated in the Stepathlon, a corporate wellness challenge aimed at achieving better physical and mental health.
It was one of the largest studies carried out at a workplace and revealed consistent and positive impacts on all measures of mental health.
Victoria University’s Professor Maximilian de Courten, world-renowned epidemiologist and Director of the Centre for Chronic Disease, said "This important mental health study demonstrates that simple and inexpensive workplace-based interventions can make important improvements in levels of depression, stress and anxiety."
Those who experience mental illness are at a much higher risk of morbidity and early mortality from physical health issues.
Professor de Courten said “ [the study] is a critical piece of research because it is relevant to Australia’s entire working community. Millions of Australians experience stress everyday - but now we know there is a way to combat the lasting negative impacts by simply moving more.”
The key findings showed depression/low mood reduced by 8 per cent, anxiety reduced by 5 per cent, stress reduced by 9 per cent and mental wellbeing increased by 2 per cent.
The Heart Foundation says 10,000 steps is the recommended daily step target for healthy adults.
The following pedometer indices have been developed to provide a guideline on steps and activity levels:
- Sedentary is less than 5,000 steps per day
- Low active is 5,000 to 7,499 steps per day
- Somewhat active is 7,500 to 9,999 steps per day
- Active is more than 10,000 steps per day
- Highly active is more than 12,500
The Heart Foundation run a 10,000 step challenge to encourage Aussies to increase their physical activity.
To take part head to https://www.10000steps.org.au