People who track their daily steps may not only be more active, they may also be less likely to develop health problems that lead to events like heart attacks or broken bones, a new study suggests.
Researchers examined data on 1,297 participants from clinical trials that randomly assigned half of the people to track steps with pedometers over 12 weeks while the rest of them did no tracking at all. When they joined the trial, people took about 7,500 steps a day and got 90 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity in at least 10-minute bouts.
Three to four years later, people who used pedometers were getting about 30 more minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity, the study found. Pedometer users were also 44% less likely to experience a fracture and 66% less likely to have a serious cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke.
“Increasing your walking and maintaining this can reduce your risk of heart attacks, strokes and fractures over the next few years,” said lead study author Tess Harris, a professor of primary care research at St George’s University of London in the UK.