Do you really need 10,000 steps every day?
You’ve probably heard the suggestion many times that you should take 10,000 steps per day, but many people average far fewer.
If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed trying to reach your recommended 10,000 steps per day, you may have a reason to relax a little. A study found that for women over 60, taking 10,000 steps per day doesn’t increase their likelihood of living longer. In fact, the benefits max out at 7,500 steps.
So what’s the magic number according to the study? Researchers found that older women who took 4,400 steps per day, on average, were roughly 41% less likely to die over the next four years compared to women who took just 2,700 steps. Mortality rates continued to decrease with more steps before leveling at 7,500 steps.
“If taking 10,000 steps throughout your day seems unattainable, you should reset your goal to a minimum of 4,400 steps,” Dr. Beth Keefe, a physician at the Aurora Health Center in Hartland, Wis., suggests. “This is a fairly modest number of steps per day and can be reached by even those who are not very active.”
Wondering how to increase your daily steps? Consider these ideas for easily adding more walking into your normal routine:
- Take a walk at lunch or during your assigned breaks
- If you have a dog, take him or her for more walks
- Walk in place while you’re on the phone instead of sitting
- Get competitive and challenge a friend, family member or co-worker to see who can complete more steps in a week.
While taking 4,400 steps is a great goal to get you started with being healthier, Dr. Keefe stresses the benefits that walking more can have on other areas of your life.
“Walking more steps per day can help with weight loss and decreasing your body mass index,” Dr. Keefe explains. “It can also reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, especially when coupled with other healthy behaviors.”
Dr. Keefe also recommends adding other forms of light exercise into your weekly routine like gardening, swimming or biking.
“Ideally, you want to spend at least 150 minutes per week doing moderate-intensity aerobic activities like brisk walking, yoga, dancing or other light activities,” says Dr. Keefe. “Don’t forget to also add some muscle-strengthening activities into your routine like lifting weights or doing push-ups.”
Want to know more about healthy weight? Take a short online quiz to learn more.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.
any similar data for men? I’ll assume it’s about the same
Walking is great and thanks for the article discussing this. I would like to bring awareness to a great organization called Walk with a Doc. I started a chapter in Oshkosh 2.5 years ago and have enjoyed walking with students near our clinic. There are also chapters in Burlington lead by Dr Melanie Smith and Dr Shahida Ahmad at Advocate Trinity. I was love to help other doctors get on board with walking by example. It has been one of the most rewarding additions to my practice that I have made in the past 5 years. Walk with a Doc national leadership is also a fun group to interact with as well.
What about someone in their 40’s?
Your article about walking 4,400 steps a day talks about older women, but what about older men. Do these same 4,400 steps apply to older men also.
Do you have stats for Men?
I am seventy two, I walk 5 plus miles 5 to six days a week
and work out with weights twice every week.
Walking is good for health emotionally, mentally&physically , especially to walk outdoors like in a park or just a simple walk rather than in the gym walking or running on a treadmill because outdoor your lungs don’t get burnout easily because your eyes and mind is not focusing on the gym Television and your steps getting off treadmill track and fall but the fresh air and lots of nature to look at while walking or other feeding your thought with the care passing by that you like or a flower, anything.
Just make a habit of walking outdoors even if it’s 30mins, in depends on if it is your first day of walk and get vit D. Also if it’s first time you walk and you a bit heavier in weight chew a menthol/mint gum -solace, orbit or airwaves it loosen up tight chest easy to breath while walking.
Did the women who took 2,700 steps have the same health as those that took 4,400 steps? It would be easy to say women with health problems would take less steps and die sooner.