October is National Physical Therapy Month, an annual opportunity to raise awareness about the benefits of physical therapy. It’s also the time to recognize, celebrate and support Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy Assistants for their work structured around APTA mission of “building a community that advances the profession of physical therapy to improve the health of society” through physical activity.
The benefit of physical activity plays in just about every aspect of health is well-known—a March 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people who take more steps daily greatly lower their risk of an early death from any cause.
Researchers looked at the number of deaths among a group of 4,480 adults aged 40 and over. The average age of study participants was 56.8 years. The study included 2,435 women (54%) and 1,732 people with obesity (36%). Participants wore a device that tracked steps and walking speed 14 hours per day for six days. The study tracked those who took part in the study for 10 years and recorded the total number of deaths from any cause. Of the 1,165 deaths, 406 were related to heart disease, and 283 were from cancer.
Regardless of pace, the more steps per day a person took, the lower the rate of death. The study compared the rate of death among people who regularly took the following number of daily steps: fewer than 4,000 steps; 4,000 to 7,999 steps; 8,000 to 11,999 steps; and more than 12,000 steps per day.
Those who walked 8,000 steps a day were significantly less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, cancer, or any cause than those who took 4,000 steps or fewer. Those who took 12,000 steps per day also were significantly less likely to die early than those who took fewer than 4,000 steps per day.
The study concluded that more daily steps are associated with lower mortality from any cause.
The bottom line is that physical activity of at least 8,000 steps a day improves life span. More movement means better health.
National Physical Therapy Month is a great opportunity for physical therapists to educate the public about the role that physical therapists play. PTs and PTAs help people achieve their health goals and improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. If you have an underlying condition or pain that prevents you from achieving 8,000 steps a day, a physical therapist can help. You can contact a Synchrony Rehab physical therapist in your area for an evaluation https://synchronyrehab.com/about/contact/