7,000 Steps Is the New 10,000 Steps

Many people today have smartwatches or fitness apps on their phones that count the number of steps they take daily. The aim has been to reach at least 10,000 steps a day, which is said to be the target to improve health. This target is, however, an arbitrary number that seems to have stemmed from a Japanese marketing campaign for a pedometer. Now, it’s been deemed the gold standard that's included in daily activity targets by popular smartwatches, such as Fitbit. When trying to get more active, it can often be demoralizing when you look at your step count and realize that you haven’t reached that 10,000-step goal. In fact, it can even be demotivating, especially at a time when many people are still working from home and only manage to walk from their makeshift “office” to the kitchen to get a snack. The good news is that there is mounting evidence that suggests that accomplishing less than 10,000 steps is still good for your health. The most recent study found that those taking at least 7,000 steps a day still lower their mortality risk by between 50% and 70%. In addition, a Harvard Medical School study showed that about 4,400 steps a day is enough to significantly lower the mortality rate of older adults, who need less activity to gain similar health benefits. It’s still recommended that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a day, at least 5 days a week. So, the next time you see that your step count is less than 10,000, don’t get upset. Remember, you’re still getting some health benefits from doing around 7,000 steps.