Thursday, March 30, 2023

10,000 steps a day is a 'fabricated' goal, doctor says. Try walking this much instead

 This article was originally published on

Sarah Jacoby
Wed, March 29, 2023 at 2:56 PM EDT


So, how often do you really need to hit your step goal to see health benefits?

Before you spend your evening walking laps around your home, know that new research shows that you don't necessarily have to hit your step goal every single day to improve your health. A new study found that walking 8,000 steps just once or twice per week can be enough to significantly reduce the risk of death over 10 years.


the benefits plateaued after walking at least 8,000 steps three days per week, meaning those who walked that much for four or more days didn't see any further reductions in mortality risk.

And it didn't have to be 8,000 steps exactly: Researchers saw the same benefits, in general, when participants walked anywhere between 6,000 to 10,000 steps.

The participants who took 8,000 or more steps during the week were also more likely to have never smoked, to not have obesity, to not have mobility limitations and to not have other conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. And, the authors note, participants' steps were only measured for one week at baseline, so their walking habits may have changed during the following decade.

So it's possible that the people who were able to walk that many steps that frequently were less likely to die within 10 years for reasons unrelated to walking, such as medication adherence, smoking status of family members, genetics, et cetera, Inoue said.


In fact, experts are encouraging “activity snacks” taken throughout the day rather than — or in addition to — getting all of your fitness in one high-intensity class or long walk, for instance. “Moving around throughout the day ... is like the fire that keeps the metabolic furnace burning,” Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery, tells

When finding the right type of exercise, there's no one-size-fits-all answer — as long as it's something you enjoy enough to do it consistently, he says.


 But it’s still important to remember that the “right” amount of steps to aim for in a day may be different from person to person. And you don’t need to push your body to hit an arbitrary goal.

“You shouldn’t ignore your body to hit a target," Dr. Lawrence Phillips, an associate professor of medicine and medical director of outpatient cardiology at NYU Langone Health in New York, told previously. "You can spread your activity throughout the day rather than having one set period,” he added.



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