You’ve heard about a goal of 10,000 steps a day. It’s the magic number for maintaining a healthy body, right? Then, why is it so hard to hit that target every day? Even people who are very active often struggle to hit 10,000 steps.
Science has solved this riddle! A 2019 study published JAMA Internal Medicine found that 10,000 steps has nothing to do with added health benefits. Instead, this number was manufactured by a pedometer marketing campaign in Japan decades ago. Here's what you need to know when you start a walking program:
According to the research, it only takes 4400 steps on average to see real health benefits and reduce your risk of death from all causes. This is a great goal for beginners.
If you can work up to 7500 steps, that's even better for longevity. This is what intermediate exercisers should aim for.
Beyond that, your extra steps will help burn additional calories (if you're looking to lose weight).
This, my friends, is good news. It’s not uncommon for people to set a grand goal. Then, when they fall short of meeting the goal, they give up on the habit altogether. Getting to 10,000 steps a day is a challenge. Meeting the 7500 mark is much more achievable.
Science tells us that small, achievable goals are more likely to change habits. How can you get more steps in your day?
Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
Park your car at the far end of the parking lot.
Get off the bus/train one stop sooner and walk.
Pace while talking on the phone.
Take a walk after meals.
Foster a dog who needs daily walks.
Ask a friend to walk with you every evening.