Walk Far, Walk Quickly to Reduce Dementia Risk

Researchers say walking between 4,000 and 10,000 steps a day can reduce the risk of dementia, especially if you get in more than 100 steps per minute

However, a new study reports that between 3,800 and 9,800 steps each day can also reduce the risk of mental decline, especially if you walk quickly.

The study, published in JAMA Neurology, analyzed data from more than 78,000 people between the ages of 40 and 79 who wore accelerometers.

Researchers divided the participants into two categories: those who took fewer than 40 steps per minute and those who took 40 or more steps per minute.

The researchers also analyzed peak performers – those who took the most steps within 30 minutes. The 30 minutes did not need to occur simultaneously.

The scientists followed up with the participants 7 years later, noting any diagnoses of dementia. They then compared steps with the diagnosis, factoring in age, ethnicity, education, sex, socio-emotional status, how many days the participant wore the accelerometer, diet, smoking, alcohol use, medication use, sleep issues, and any history of cardiovascular disease.

Some of the findings included:

An editorial that accompanied the study results suggested that people focus on their walking pace rather than the distance walked or the number of steps per day, aiming for 112 steps per minute.