Ten thousand steps a day keeps the blues away

PIC: File

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."

PIC: File

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

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