10,000 steps a day…really?
Research shows that the number actually isn’t that high. Here’s how many steps you really need.
I’m sure you’ve heard some health guru or fitness expert—or maybe even a doctor—tell you that you should walk at least 10,000 steps a day for optimal health. While this goal can be a helpful tool to get people to buy pedometers and move their bodies, the actual number isn’t as big. In fact, scientific studies prove otherwise.
In a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers noted the mortality rate in older women who walked a certain amount of steps per day and found that women who walked between 4,400 steps to 7,500 steps saw a decreased mortality rate. The study also notes that walking over 7,500 steps a day made no difference in terms of overall health.
According to a steps-to-distance conversion chart published by the University of Wyoming, walking at least 4,500 steps a day is estimated to be about a 2.5-mile distance or 3.62 kilometers. If you were to walk up to 7,500 steps a day, that’s equivalent to 3.75 miles or 6.03 kilometers.
Now, where did the 10,000-step goal come from? According to Dr. I-Min Lee, a professor at Harvard T.H Chan School of Health and a co-author of the referenced JAMA study, says the original number was actually a marketing ploy for a Japanese company in 1965. Part of her research has been dedicated to learning—and debunking—this original walking myth.
So is walking up to 7,500 steps a day count as enough of a workout? Actually…yes. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends engaging in 150 minutes of physical activity each week, which equates to 30 minutes for 5 days of the week. Although pacing and leg length does factor in when it comes to walking and distances, you’ll likely get at least 30 minutes of movement in with a 7,500-step walk.
Remember—there are a lot of other beneficial reasons to eat healthy besides weight loss. The same goes for working out! While many people on the Internet claim to have lost weight from walking every day, there are a lot of other valuable reasons to incorporate daily movement (even as simple as walking) into your daily routine. Lowering your blood pressure, reducing your risk of chronic diseases, and even improving your mood are some of the reasons at the top of the list.
So get yourself outside for a little walk today. You and your body deserve it!
The calendar may not officially say it’s summer, but when June hits, summer starts for me. It is my absolute favorite season of the year, and I’m not even going to apologize for getting things started early—like listing off some of my favorite summer recipes for you.
I have one rule when the summertime rolls around—no ovens. For real. It’s way too hot for that! When I put together my list of summer recipes to cook up, I’m limiting it to my stove top, toaster, or heck, using no heat at all. From summer salads to cocktails and all of the tomato and zucchini recipes in between, here are the recipes that I’m always turning to between June and September.
This essay was originally published on my website.