Stuck in a chair for hours at work? Not to worry! Researchers now reveal that by clocking in 10,000 daily steps, you can still cut down the cardiovascular risk and risk of early death even if you are sedentary for the rest of the day.

Taking 10,000 daily steps has long been the recommended threshold for health benefits. In a recent study, researchers examined whether this target proves beneficial for those individuals with highly sedentary lifestyles.

"Any amount of daily steps above the referent 2200 steps/day was associated with lower mortality and incident CVD [cardiovascular disease] risk, for low and high sedentary time. Accruing 9000–10,500 steps/day was associated with the lowest mortality risk independent of sedentary time. For a roughly equivalent number of steps/day, the risk of incident CVD was lower for low sedentary time compared with high sedentary time," the researchers wrote in the study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The minimal threshold for substantially lower mortality and CVD risk was between 4000 and 4500 steps/day," the researchers added.

The study led by the researchers at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney evaluated data from more than 72,000 individuals with an average age of 61 enrolled in the UK Biobank study. The participants wore an accelerometer device on their wrist for seven days to measure their physical activity in terms of daily step count and time spent sedentary.

On average, people took about 6,222 steps a day. The study compared those who took the fewest steps (2,200 steps a day) to see how increasing step count could affect the risk of death and cardiovascular events.

The average sedentary time of the participants was around 10.6 hours a day. Those who were sedentary for 10.5 hours or more were categorized as having high sedentary time, while those with less than 10.5 hours were classified as having low sedentary time. After a follow-up of around 6.9 years, there were 1633 deaths and 6190 cardiovascular events.

"After taking into account other potentially influential factors, the authors calculated that the optimal number of steps per day to counteract high sedentary time was between 9000 to 10000 steps/day, which lowered mortality risk by 39% and incident CVD risk by 21%. In both cases, 50% of the benefit was achieved at between 4000 and 4500 steps/day," the news release stated.

Since the study is observational, it cannot establish the cause and effect. Although the study involves a large sample size and extended follow-up, the authors caution that there is potential for bias due to other unmeasured factors influencing the results. Additionally, since steps and sedentary time were measured at a single time point, there is a possibility of bias.

However, the researchers said the "results provide relevant findings that can be used to augment public health messaging and inform the first generation of device-based physical activity and sedentary behavior guidelines, which will likely include specific recommendations on daily stepping."