More steps, better health

More steps, better health

Keeping up with the Joneses used to involve buying the sleekest car or discussing new appliances by the water cooler. Now, toward the end of a work day a new barometer for success appears, introduced by a single, smug sentence: How many steps did you get?

It’s true: Wearable activity tracking devices have become very common. And while some might tire of seeing a constant indicator of their daily movement when they go to check the time, a new University of Michigan study suggests the benefits are well worth it — especially for those prioritizing their health while dealing with heart failure.

As part of a nationwide, randomized clinical trial, over 400 participants with a diagnosis of heart failure received activity monitors to assess the relationship between daily step count, floors climbed and their symptoms and physical limitations over a period of 12 weeks.

The results indicated that patients with daily step counts between 1,000 and 5,000 steps were associated with significantly improved symptoms and displayed fewer physical limitations. Those who increased their step counts by 2,000 a day saw a significant improvement in physical limitation scores compared with those who did not alter their step counts.

Notably, the devices allowed physicians to gain insight into people’s behaviors at home, not just their self-reported activity levels.

Of course, there’s no doubt there’s something a little exasperating about a wearable device doggedly reminding you to move more. But like most things that are a pain to execute and ultimately are beneficial — there’s no denying that more movement is better.

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