With all due respect to Dr. Seuss, I like to walk.
I walk with my wife.
I walk with my dog.
I walk by myself.
I walk for my life.
I talk about walking quite a bit. Because it’s easy, requires no fancy equipment, and you can do it nearly anywhere.
And of course, any movement done regularly, including low-impact walking, is great for you in the long run (no pun intended).
So while I encourage you to walk early and often, and increase your steps along the way, there’s a lot of confusion when it comes to this: how many steps a day should be your goal?
The generally accepted consensus (just ask your neighbor) is 10,000 steps a day is ideal.
But I dug into this a bit. And that number is not really based in science.
The origin of this 10,000 number actually goes all the way back to the mid-60s, and the marketing team behind one of the world’s first pedometers.
A Japanese company wanted a snappy name for their new gadget. And they liked “Manpo-kei,” which translates to “10,000 steps meter.”
Even better for the marketers, the Japanese character for the number 10,000 looks a little like a pair of legs walking. Catchy. But it’s not science.
So if you’re a walker, what should your goal really be?
One researcher wanted to find out. And it turns out, the number of steps to make a real difference in your health and longevity isn’t nearly as high as 10,000.
Women who averaged 4,400 steps had significantly lower mortality rates than those who averaged 2,700 steps. And as they added more steps, the mortality rates continued to drop.
The benefits leveled off at about 7,500 per day.
A more reasonable goal, more attainable, and yes, based on science, not a clever advertising campaign.
Now whether you walk 4,000, 5,000 or 7,500 steps a day is largely irrelevant. The key is to stay active, stay consistent, and keep moving.
You don’t even need to track this stuff if you don’t want to. But a lot of people like to. It makes it almost a game.
Whatever works for you.
My dog Ellie doesn’t count steps. She just likes me to take her for a walk.
It may not be 10,000 steps, but it’s probably close to that when it comes to stops and sniffs.
Get outside before the weekend is over. And stay safe.