Harvard Women's Health Watch

Taking more steps could reduce women's heart risks after menopause

How many steps do you take each day? Taking at least 6,000 of them might lower your risk for both heart disease and diabetes, according to a November 2012 study in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society. The authors looked at 292 Brazilian women, ages 45 to 72. Participants were given a pedometer to record their steps over a seven-day period. The women were considered active if they walked more than 6,000 steps per day, and inactive if they walked less than that number. Active women were much less likely than inactive women to be obese and to have metabolic syndrome (a group of factors, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and a large waistline, that increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes)—even if they had already gone through menopause, when the risk for heart disease and diabetes rises. To monitor and increase the number of steps you walk each day, wear a pedometer as you go about your activities. Slowly increase the number of steps you take, until you reach the Surgeon General's recommendation of at least 10,000 steps a day (about the equivalent of 4 to 5 miles).

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »